Warner Bros is being taken to court in Australia over breach of contract claims brought by George Miller. Miller claims that Warner Bros breached contract in denying him his $7 million bonus for “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Miller says that the company agreed to pay him the bonus in the event that he did not surpass their $157 million dollar budget. Although Miller believes that he met that criterion, Warner Bros is arguing that they are not required to pay the bonus because he did go over budget. Miller asserts that any amount spent over the budget was due to decisions that delayed and altered the production process of the movie, and such decisions should not count against him.
According to the Hollywood Reporter and Deadline, the suit was originally filed in September of this year. It was filed in Australia because Miller argued that most of the contract was performed in Australia, the breach occurred in Australia, and he contracted with the Australian branch of Warner Bros. On the other hand, Warner Bros wanted the case moved to California for arbitration, citing an arbitration clause in their agreement and their standard practice of using arbitration for big name clients as evidence in favor of using arbitration in this case. The Supreme Court of New South Wales sided with Miller and agreed that the suit should take place in Australia. Now that the case is officially being tried in Australian court, Miller is looking to invoke Australian consumer law to show that Warner Bros was acting deceptively by not telling him that the additional costs would take him over budget, and therefore denied him of his bonus. However, Warner Bros does not plan on going down without a fight. A representative told the Hollywood Reporter that they “will vigorously defend against these claims.”
Jenna El-Fakih is an Entertainment Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current first year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2020).