It’s gorilla warfare and Kong is stuck in the middle.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, there is some serious strain between Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures, and it starts with the upcoming Kong origin tale, Kong: Skull Island.

Last week, as we reported, Universal decided to give Kong: Skull Island to Warner Bros. and the Reporter says the decision “is being read as a symptom of relationship trouble between the companies.” They add:

Several sources say there has been strain, in part because Thomas Tull (of Legendary) kicked off the deal in 2014 with a couple of clunkers that he put through Universal’s distribution system and then upset some at the studio who feel he has indulged a bad habit of wrapping himself in credit for hits that he merely helped finance. In this case, the film at issue was the biggest movie of the year to date, Jurassic World.

Known as a brash fanboy with a knack for raising big money, Tull, 43, brought potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in film financing to Universal after his relationship with Warners soured amid similar reports of tension over that studio’s perception that he grabbed credit for Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies and other hits on which he was a financing partner. (In a 2009 Wall Street Journal profile, for example, Tull said Legendary had made The Dark Knight.) “That will always be his biggest problem,” says a source close to Warners. “Not just saying, ‘Thank you.’ ” Legendary, Warner Bros. and Universal declined comment, but a source with ties to Tull notes that both studios “certainly decided to cash his checks.”

In a twist, following Universal’s decision to pass on Kong — with a budget north of $125 million — Warner Bros. is stepping in with a three-picture deal that kicks off with Kong; followed by a sequel to 2014’s Godzilla, the biggest Warner Bros. hit originated by Legendary ($529 million worldwide); followed by a mashup that pits the ape against Godzilla. Warners is said to be kicking in 25 percent of budgets as well as marketing costs on the Kong films.

Yikes. Can’t we all just get along?



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