This weekend, we may have learned what the hold-up is: according to the Sydney Morning Herald, Miller's production company (Kennedy Miller Marshall) is in the process of suing Warner Bros. for what they claim is $7M in unpaid Fury Road bonuses.
Australia's news outlet the Sydney Morning Herald was the first publication to break the story, with the report claiming Kenny Miller Mitchell brought the case to the Supreme Court of New South Wales this past September. It officially cost $150 million just to produce, but apparently went over $157 million - because Warner Bros. would have given Miller's production company Kennedy Miller Mitchell a bonus if it stayed under that number.
[Warner Bros] made a series of decisions which caused substantial changes and delays to Mad Max, which led to additional costs and expenses and that [the studio] wrongly took them into account in its over-budget calculation. Under the terms of the contract, the $7 million was only owed if the film didn't go over budget. "That hard work resulted in a picture which found wide acclaim globally".
Now it looks as if the reason a sequel hasn't moved forward is because Miller and Warner Bros. are embroiled in a legal dispute.
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Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, and Nicholas Hoult, won six Academy Awards at the 2015 ceremony, and it backed up its critical acclaim with a huge box office haul. Yet even though Fury Road was a box office hit, grossing more than $378 million worldwide before receiving multiple Oscar nominations, Warner Bros. has not paid up.
The statement continued: "We would much prefer to be making movies with Warner Bros than litigating with them but, after trying for over a year, we were unable to reach a satisfactory resolution and have now had to resort to a lawsuit to sort things out". With 2018 just over the horizon, it's freaky that Warner Bros. doesn't already have a sequel ready to drop. The George Miller-directed dystopian adventure famously experienced a rough development and production period due to certain delays and weather issues, but Kennedy Miller Mitchell doesn't believe those problems should be held against them. Miller is arguing that if WB's productions decisions were subtracted from the rest of the budget, Kennedy Miller Mitchell would be under the limit and thus entitled to a $7 million bonus, as per their agreement with the distributor.
Naturally, Warner Bros. doesn't see it that way, as the studio said: "We disagree and will vigorously defend against these claims", per TheWrap.
The director is also challenging Warner Bros.' co-financing deal with RatPac Entertainment, saying he and the studio had agreed to give his company the first chance to supply that funding.