As TIFF 2015 is in full gear, these are the times of quite a lot of deal-making for funding and distributing of films big and small. Considering that the news out of TIFF has suggested that studios are less rabid than usual for the samplings in Toronto, it’s perhaps perfect timing for a new round of deals concerning not one, but two major franchises, namely King Kong and Godzilla. In a THR story this morning, it was suggested that Legendary’s Thomas Tull has struck a deal to move Kong: Skull Island, the long in-the-works sequel to Peter Jackson’s King Kong, to Warner Bros., who apparently have agreed to foot a quarter of that films $120 million-plus budget. This, of course, follows Universal’s recent decision to forego backing and distributing Kong: Skull Island, which they had originally meant to team with Tull on. Universal’s decision to pass has suggested, to some, a rift beginning to form between Legendary and Universal, who just announced a record-breaking year already in terms of box-office receipts.
Word about town is that some people at Warner Bros. are not happy to see Tull back in the mix, considering the fact that he started there, but the deal with Legendary allows Warner Bros. do what all major studios love to do: make franchises. Reports now seem to point to a ramshackle trilogy being built between Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla 2, and the previously rumored Kong vs. Godzilla project. This whole franchise would seemingly hinge on the inclusion of the Monarch team, who were represented by Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe in Gareth Edwards‘ exquisite Godzilla, in Kong: Skull Island, which would set up a tie-in for Godzilla 2 and, ultimately, the Kong vs. Godzilla film. As excited as I am for Godzilla 2 and, to a lesser degree, Kong: Skull Island, the backroom politics of the funding and distribution of these films would make for a great behind-the-curtain Hollywood film. Could a hologram Vincent Minelli helm or am I asking for too much from technology?
Check out Dave’s story on how the Universal-Tull drama is holding up Pacific Rim 2 here.