How the Nasty 'Godzilla' Lawsuit Could Affect Jilted Employees

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Dan Lin, left, and Roy Lee

Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davidson say they were promised producer credits on the movie, but Legendary contends they didn't do much to justify being included.

This story first appeared in the May 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Thomas Tull's business practices are at the center of a legal dispute with three top Hollywood producers who claim they were unfairly booted from Godzilla. Lawyers for Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davidson are demanding Legendary produce internal documents the trio says will show they were promised producer credits on the film for helping negotiate with Japanese rights owner Toho and developing the project at Legendary.

STORY: As It Unleashes 'Godzilla,' Legendary Pictures Makes Big Moves

In January 2013, Legendary preemptively sued the threesome, claiming a March 2011 contract requires the producers to be involved in Godzilla only if they are "deemed to be engaged" to produce the film (they weren't). But the producers say in a countersuit that they had an oral agreement to be treated as producers and that "Legendary's chief creative executive (and now president) Jon Jashni specifically promised Lee and Lin in writing that if they could secure the rights for Legendary, 'You know you and your partners will be well treated throughout.'"

The case has made waves in producer circles because those who bring projects to studios typically are included in the films that result. But Legendary contends that Lin Pictures and Lee's Vertigo Entertainment didn't do much, if anything, to justify being included. In the producers' cross-complaint, they contend that Legendary orally agreed to pay them a $1.3 million fee and 3 percent of the first-dollar gross receipts of the film -- which, ironically, means that despite being excluded from Godzilla, they're rooting for him to roar at the box office.