That deal between Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures is coming to an end according to new reports.
This will allow the entertainment company to partner back up with Warner Bros., a studio they’ve had better luck with when they’ve collaborated on projects since 2005. More on the story below.
Per Variety, the deal between Legendary and WB has not yet been signed. The two are, however, in exclusive negotiations and a deal is expected to happen in the near future.
But this deal will be slightly different than the one that was signed back in 2005. Unlike the eight-year slate partnership deal, this will be an output deal, which will see WB release Legendary films for a fee. The report says WB or Legendary would have the option to invest in each other’s upcoming films, but neither would be obligated to.
The reason why WB and Legendary ended their partnership in 2013 was because of a rift between Legendary founder Thomas Tull and former Warner Bros. chief Jeff Robinov. However, Tull left the company in 2017, and was replaced by Josh Grode. Meanwhile, Toby Emmerich was named Robinov’s replacement. While a deal has been in the works for quite a while, there were a couple of moves and signals that indicated that it was going to happen.
First there was the Detective Pikachu film moving from Universal to Warner Bros. This is the second time that a major film has jumped studio ship. The first was Kong: Skull Island, a film which was supposed to be distributed by Universal but in a strange turn of events went over to WB, allowing for the creation of their shared monster universe with Godzilla set to face off with King Kong.
Another contributing fact is that Skyscraper has performed well-below box office expectations. The Dwayne Johnson Die Hard-esque vehicle opened at third place in its opening weekend with $24 million. It currently sits at $281 million worldwide. Not the kind of numbers you would like to see from a summer film featuring a huge box office draw like Johnson. Variety cites Crimson Peak‘s weak numbers as another reason for the failed partnership.
When Legendary and Universal reached their deal the plan was to turn some of Legendary’s titles into theme park attractions at Universal, while Universal hoped to collaborate on projects in China where Legendary has a major presence being owned by Chinese conglomerate the Wanda Group. But the deal did not pay off. Universal believes that it would have been better off financing a film like Jurassic World on their own because now they are forced to share some of the profits with Legendary. That particular franchise did not come with a lot of risks because of its built-in fanbase. However, films like Skyscraper and Crimson Peak proved to be less lucrative.
Legendary does not have any more films with Universal. Additionally, it does not have the rights to their franchises like Jurassic World.