The recent shakeup between Legendary and Universal Pictures has had a major effect on their partnership. According to a new report last week’s Kong: Skull Island move from Universal to Warner Bros. is a telling sign that there is a strain between the two parties.
But since Universal never officially entered production on Kong, it’s no skin off their back, and as a result of the move, WB has now signed a three-picture deal with Legendary that will have them distribute Skull Island, Godzilla 2, and the untitled Godzilla vs. King Kong film. More on the story below.
According to THR, Warners is said to be kicking in 25 percent of budgets as well as marketing costs on the Kong films. The deal officially kicks off with Skull Island, followed by Godzilla 2, and ends with the untitled Godzilla and King Kong showdown film. But it is a strange love hate relationship between Legendary and WB, as rumors of Legendary head Thomas Tull taking credit for the success of WB’s The Dark Knight trilogy and Universal’s Jurassic World are now emerging. As the report states, Tull was merely a financing partner, and did nothing more than just help ease the production budget.
A source close to WB said:
“That will always be his biggest problem. Not just saying, ‘Thank you.’ ” Legendary, Warners and Universal declined comment, but a source with ties to Tull notes that both studios “certainly decided to cash his checks.”
Obviously not surprising since most of Legendary’s films have been a great return on investment for the studios, and while his actions may be rubbing them the wrong way, it hasn’t stopped WB from signing deals with them. Still, industry analysts say that WB “was thrilled to see him leave,” and they don’t see the two expanding on the deal beyond those three films.
Looking back at the recent move, it would seem a bit strange that Universal would let go of King Kong, which is considered one of their iconic properties, the beast is even a part of Universal’s theme park Studio Tour. However, King Kong is now considered public domain, which is why the move is happening so easily.
Of course for Godzilla to fight King Kong, the screenwriter hired to pen the script would have to not only figure out the story of how Godzilla and the Monarch’s fit into what we should assume is now a shared universe, but also have us believe how a giant ape who can scale the Empire State Building can fight a lizard who can cast a shadow over the Empire State Building. But a source close to Tull says that the Legendary is confident they can come up with a rational explanation on how the two can fight. And here is where it gets really interesting. That source also talks about how Godzilla and King Kong could become allies.