Legendary Entertainment founder, chairman and CEO Thomas Tull has resigned under pressure after selling the company to China’s Dalian Wanda Group for $3.5 billion in January of 2016. Tull served as an executive producer on 2015’s Jurassic World and his company Legendary Entertainment served as a production company on the film in association with Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment.
“We are thankful to Thomas for his founding vision of Legendary as well as his commitment, leadership and partnership this past year. He will forever be part of the company’s already rich legacy and powerful DNA,” said Gao in a statement. “As we move forward, Wanda aims to transform Legendary into a next generation studio of the future with a far-reaching creative and global platform. We look forward to working with the creative team to manage our already viable film slate with more to come in the near future.”
While there was never any official announcement from Universal Pictures, many assumed Legendary Entertainment would again serve as a production company on the upcoming Jurassic World Sequel with Tull returning as an executive producer. However, after the company was sold to the Dalian Wanda Group and with Tull’s exit from the company, its pretty clear he will not be returning as executive producer on the sequel and the prospects of Legendary Entertainment returning are not guaranteed.
Thomas Tull (left) at the Jurassic World premiere in 2015
Legendary Entertainment’s relationship with Universal Pictures has been shaky as of late with the studio being upset with Tull taking more credit for the success of Jurassic World then he deserved. The Hollywood Reporter detailed the strain between the two companies in September of 2015 after Universal let the rights to the upcoming Kong: Skull Island film go to Warner Brothers.
Universal Pictures’ decision last week to let Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures take its Kong: Skull Island project to Warner Bros. in the midst of a five-year production and financing deal is being read as a symptom of relationship trouble between the companies.
Several sources say there has been strain, in part because Tull 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.
What do you think of Thomas Tull leaving Legendary Entertainment and what it might mean for the production company’s involvement in the Jurassic World sequel? Let us know in the comments below and on our forums.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter