By Tim Kenneally
LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - Producers Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison have hit back at Legendary Pictures over "Godzilla," filing a cross complaint Thursday in L.A. Superior Court seeking millions in damages and credit for their contributions to the upcoming movie.
Lin, Lee and Davison allege breach of contract and mistreatment, rehashing the history of how they came to work with Legendary. They began work in 2009 and helped Legendary secure the rights because they were assured they'd be treated well.
"Apparently, Legendary's idea of treating the producers who brought them ‘Godzilla' well included concocting a scheme to try to force them off the project, and depriving them of their screen credit and substantial fixed and backend compensation in order to keep more of the money and to aggrandize themselves," the suit claims.
Legendary preemptively sued the producers last week to kick them off of the movie, anticipating a restraining order that could impede the looming production. Legendary unveiled its plans for the movie at Comic-Con last July, and has slated it for a 2014 release. It would begin production in Spring with Gareth Edward directing.
Legendary alleged that it had entered an agreement in March 2011 that gave the producers $25,000 in development money but no right to the intellectual property. In order to receive credit as a producer or backend money from the movie's profits, their early work would need to be the basis for the movie.
Lin, Lee and Davison say they were responsible for bringing the rights to Legendary and never signed a written agreement because Legendary changed the terms of the deal. However, they say, Legendary had orally agreed to pay $1.3 million and three percent of first dollar cross receipts in addition to the development money.
Legendary has since hired a new writer, Frank Darabont, and sought other producers.
The producers are all based at Warner Bros., Legendary's main partner - Lin at Lin Pictures and Lee and Davison for Vertigo Entertainment. Their suit against Legendary places most of the blame with president and chief creative officer Jon Jashni rather than CEO Thomas Tull.
However, they are still pointed in their claims, explaining that they "seek substantial punitive damages to make an example of Legendary so that it and no other studio will in the future treat their producers in this outrageous manner."
Legendary had no comment on the suit.
(Pamela Chelin contributed to this report)