After around two decades of working with the franchise, Universal has decided to cut ties with longtime Fast and Furious producer Neal Moritz.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Moritz and Universal have had a love/hate relationship throughout their tenure together. Yet, the two parties have always managed to find middle ground allowing the 8-film saga to gross over $5.1 billion worldwide. But after engaging in an intense legal battle over the upcoming Hobbs & Shaw spinoff, Universal apparently ran out of patience. Not only did they cut Moritz from the film that's set to hit theaters in Aug., but Universal also decided to cut the producer from future projects planned for the Fast franchise.
The straw that broke the camel's back centers around a lawsuit Mortiz filed against Universal. In court documents obtained by THR, the producer states he was instrumental in creating the concept for Hobbs & Shaw with Fast writer Chris Morgan. As a result, Moritz feels Universal owes him a $2 million fee as well as a percentage of the money grossed from the film's premiere dates. This did not sit well with studio execs as they stated they would agree to these terms only if he's willing to back away from the franchise completely. Doing so would cut into the favorable "pay-or-play" deal he brokered with the studio.
In his "pay-or-play" deal, Moritz will still be compensated from the upcoming Fast films whether he's involved or not. While this is still a big payday, he will not receive producing credits or revenue generated from any characters he claimed to have introduced. Although it is unsure how these litigations will play out, it is clear that parting ways with Moritz can be an expensive endeavor for Universal. Yet, this seems fine with the studio as it looks like they rather pay the producer to stay away than continuing their reportedly "long, torturous history" with Moritz.