The suit, covered on Saturday in the Sydney Morning-Herald, accuses the studio of factoring in costs that were the result of its own decisions in order to claim that the project went over its $157 million budget.
“Simply put, we are owed substantial earnings for diligent and painstaking work which spanned over 10 years in development of the script and preparation and three years in production of the movie,” Miller and his producing partner, Doug Mitchell, said in a statement to the Australian publication. “That hard work resulted in a picture which found wide acclaim globally… We would much prefer to be making movies with Warner Bros. than litigating with them but, after trying for over a year, we were unable to reach a satisfactory resolution and have now had to resort to a lawsuit to sort things out.”
Warner Bros. countered with its own statement: “We disagree and will vigorously defend against these claims.”
Miller and Mitchell filed suit in Australia on Sept. 3. The suit also accuses the studio of breaching their agreement when it allowed RatPac Entertainment to take a 12.5% stake in the project, violating an obligation to first offer such terms to Miller and Mitchell.
Warner Bros. argues that the dispute should be handled in arbitration in California. However, on Thursday, Justice David Hammerschlag of the New South Wales Supreme Court ruled against the studio, finding that the dispute is not explicitly subject to arbitration.
Miller and Mitchell are seeking relief under an Australian consumer-protection law. According to the ruling, they allege that “Warner Bros. did not inform them of the fact that they did not intend the additional costs incurred by the changes and delays to Mad Max brought about by them, to be excluded costs for the purposes of the budget calculation.”
Released in 2015, “Mad Max: Fury Road” grossed $154 million domestically and another $225 million overseas.