“The Fast and the Furious” producer Neal Moritz is suing Universal for breach of oral contract, breach of implied contract and promissory fraud, according to papers obtained by TheWrap.
The suit, which was filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, said that Moritz was removed from the “Fast & the Furious” spinoff “Hobbs and Shaw,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, as lead producer on the project just days before shooting was set to begin. The lawsuit said that Moritz should either be reinstated as a lead producer on “Hobbs and Shaw” or that Universal would be “liable to Moritz for tens of millions of additional dollars in reputational damage that he will inevitably suffer if the studio fails to fully credit him.”
“In an extraordinary show of bad faith, and just a few days before filming was set to begin on ‘Hobbs and Shaw,’ Universal took the position that Moritz either had to amend his oral producer deal to accept substantially inferior financial terms, or be cut out of the Picture altogether,” the lawsuit reads. “Universal also took the extraordinary position that it was free to exploit Moritz’s ideas for ‘Hobbs and Shaw,’ and his work product over an approximately year-and-a-half period, without honoring its oral producer agreement.”
Universal declined to comment.
The lawsuit also said that not including Moritz or providing credit or compensation is an “enormous betrayal” by Universal. It said that across the eight films in the “Fast & Furious” franchise dating back to 2001, Mortiz is the one “common denominator” across all of the projects.
“Moritz has been the lead producer and common denominator on all of the above films, which at times have involved different directors, writers, casts and studio executives,” the lawsuit reads. “Moritz is the only key talent who has been involved in all eight of the films.”
The “Fast & Furious” movies have grossed $1.5 billion at the domestic box office.
The lawsuit, which demands a trial by jury, also says that Universal banned Moritz from the set of “Hobbs and Shaw.”
“If Universal believes that it can treat one of its most successful producers with such extraordinary bad faith, one can only imagine how Universal treats its lesser established producers,” the suit reads.
The lawsuit was filed by Dale Kinsella and Suann MacIsaac of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert. Moritz’s entertainment lawyer is Howard Abramson.
Deadline was first to report this news.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.