Legendary Pictures has sued producers Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison over a planned "Godzilla" film that Legendary wants them off of, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in a California Superior Court.
Legendary has been seeking to drop Lin and Lee, two prominent producers based at Legendary partner Warner Bros., but they are not going quietly.
Legendary's complaint was filed preemptively, as it claims the producers have threatened to seek a temporary restraining order to impede production. The company hopes the court will order arbitration to prevent any stoppages.
Neither Lee nor Warner Bros. immediately responded to a request for comment. Lin's office directed TheWrap to lawyer Larry Stein, who also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Legendary teased its plans to reboot Godzilla at Comic-Con in 2012 with director Gareth Edwards, and Warner Bros. has been plotting a summer 2014 release. Deadline recently reported Frank Darabont is at work on a final rewrite.
Legendary acquired the rights to make a "Godzilla" film in 2010 from Japan-based Toho, which owns the copyright for the character. In Wednesday's complaint, Legendary said it then entered an agreement with the producers for them to "provide customary development services" and "potentially provide customary producing services in the event that certain criteria were met following such development."
Legendary alleges the agreements gave the producers no right to the intellectual property. They would receive a development fee of $25,000, and any further rewards depended them producing the movie.
The producers could also earn backend compensation (money from the film's revenues) if a script they developed served as the basis for the movie. Legendary also denies that has happened.
While Legendary and the producers will have to work this out in or out of court, this sours the relationship between one of Warner Bros.' most important co-financiers and two of the studio's leading producers. Lin has produced the "Sherlock Holmes" franchise and the upcoming "Gangster Squad" while Lee produced "The Departed."
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.