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Legendary Officially Leaving Warner Bros for 5-Year Deal at Universal

by
July 10, 2013

Legendary Pictures / Universal Pictures

In case you hadn't heard, Legendary Entertainment - the company behind Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, The Hangover franchise, Man of Steel and this week's release of Pacific Rim - is leaving their Warner Bros. studio home. Over the past few weeks, insiders have been wondering where Legendary would end up, meeting with virtually every major studio in Hollywood. Now the cat is out of the bag as Universal Pictures has announced their new five-year partnership with Legendary to produce and co-finance films together, with Universal providing distribution. This is a big deal for Universal. Read on!

Legendary Entertainment Chairman and CEO Thomas Tull says, "Comcast and NBCUniversal’s global assets in film, television and theme parks offer Legendary unmatched breadth and opportunity to grow our business. We are delighted to be in business with this exceptional team and look forward to a successful partnership." Meanwhile, Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna Langley add, "Legendary has demonstrated a keen ability to identify and acquire powerful fresh intellectual property based ideas, match them with strong filmmakers and turn them into blockbuster hits."

Universal seems to have been struggling over the past few years, trying everything to get back to their former glory. Landing Legendary should hopefully get them back on track. They've been responsible for some of the most successful franchises of the past five years, and they continue to pump out original and quality work that Universal will hopefully market smartly to get an audience. Hopefully Universal will stop clinging to their past franchises and strike up some great new original blockbusters and more when this partnership begins in 2014. Sound good?

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  • Phillip Gockel
    So what does this mean for the Man of Steel franchise? I could be mistaken, but I thought there was an agreement in place between DC comics and WB. Will Legendary be out of the mix, or do prior agreements still supersede this one?
    • Chris Groves
      Yeah, DC is owned by the WB parent company, and so going forward, those will be straight-up WB films...just like Green Lantern was. But properties that Legendary developed/has rights to like Pacific Rim and Godzilla would have sequels(if any are made) distributed by Universal.
    • tjstalcup
      Thanks for the question Phillip. again does this mean no more Nolan movies w/ WB?
      • Chris Groves
        Not necessarily, I mean, Nolan has a great relationship with Legendary, but I think that extended to WB as well. Nolan's next film is a Paramount-WB co-production....with Paramount handling the domestic distribution and WB handling it overseas.
  • dawko
    Good for them, Universal realized they can't make expensive and shitty movies at the same time...at least someone
    • Chris Groves
      There is a great deadline article about how in the past year Universal has really done some good stuff and had a lot of hits. Battleship was a big loss last May. But since then they've had huge hits like Ted, Les Miserables, Mama was a bit horror hit, Identity Thief was very successful, Furious 6 is their 3rd highest grossing film Worldwide, Despicable Me 2 is cleaning house....and while RIPD looks terrible, but stuff like 'Riddick' looks fantastic. They'd hit a good run and pairing with Legendary will only bode good things for the future.
      • dawko
        Definitely, they realized there are other ways of making money, through smaller projects, and that's the way to do it, for now at least. Later, once they are back on track, they can throw money at something bigger, riskier, but please, let it be something original, I am so tired of nowadays movies...
      • RyGuy
        A 'Riddick' movie would be the perfect film that Legendary and Universal could do together.
        • Chris Groves
          Agreed 100%
  • Chris Groves
    Good for Universal. They produced utterly iconic films in the past(Jaws, ET, Jurassic Park, the original King Kong) and my wallet is still a Universal Studios wallet that was a gift from my older brother. They really didn't succeed in the new millennium like a lot of studios did, but they seemed to have found their legs again. It's a circular process. If you don't produce great films, and they don't succeed, then you'll be more hesitant to make more huge films and take future risks and cede creative control for fear of more failure. But now they've started to get some big hits and have gotten some really big numbers coming in from more than a few tent-poles, and are able to provide more money and more freedom for bigger and more interesting films. They decided to green-light the 20th anniversary Dumb and Dumber sequel when WB/New Line passed on it...and now they they've forged a partnership with the rather daring and quite successful Legendary pictures(which has been involved in a lot of WB's success stories in recent years) I think if Universal plays their cards right, they could really make Universal studios a big deal again. Those are theme parks devoted to your properties that you can entirely leverage as marketing tools for future releases. Disney does it rather well, but you must rely on the films and the content to do so...and hopefully Universal can start to do that again.
  • Django9000
    Maybe they realized that they just couldn't do what Disney's done w/ the Marvel characters with the Warner Bros' DC catalogue. Just not as interesting a collection , when you get down to it. Man of Steel being the final straw. If we wanted movies about Gods, then Clash of the Titans would've been an inarguable hit. (Which despite 2 films, it clearly was not - as with Immortals. Gorgeous, but uninteresting overall...) Similarly, if God-like characters were potentially interesting as leaders or franchise-leading characters, then Thor would be the 'leader' of the Avengers, and all its supreme beings would be selling off the shelves like hot-cakes. Also similarly, the more mystery is removed from the character of Logan, the less interesting he becomes. He's just another immortal dude, without a care or a real threat in this world. HOWEVER - making him mortal still does not make him outright interesting. All of these are reasons why Marvel's willingness from the very start to make their characters vulnerable, relatable, and humorous to the point of un-self conscious self parody & basically being interesting beyond their powers or unique life circumstances - it's no contest. Legendary probably has more interesting stories to tell. DC's cinematic heroes are essentially TOAST.
    • Spockmann
      You sir, are an idiot.
      • agreed
        I concur.
    • Vergil Kent
      Seriously
  • Ammon Anderson
    Are we sure that Legendary isn't just dropping a tier here?
  • DAVIDPD
    Hell Yeah! I want to break free!
  • Vergil Kent
    WB wont miss a step. Legendaries loss.
  • RyGuy
    Two films Universal and Legendary should do together: Hellboy III and Riddick 4.

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