The Edge of Tomorrow TV series being developed by Warner Bros has hit a major snag. Warner Bros is being sued by the production company Village Roadshow, with the lawsuit alleging that Warner Bros is systematically attempting to deprive Village Roadshow of their derivative rights regarding a number of properties. The lawsuit is actually primarily concerned with the recent premiere of Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix Resurrections, which was released simultaneously in theaters and streaming. Essentially, the claim by Village Roadshow is that the simultaneous release diminished box office grosses, resulting in less revenue. This is similar to Scarlett Johansson’s (though settled) lawsuit against the Walt Disney Co, claiming that the same dual release format of her Black Widow film had reduced grosses, preventing her from receiving a contractually obligated bonus. It is very complicated legal stuff, but just shows how the film industry has been scrambling in recent years to deal with the emerging dominance of streaming platforms and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt science fiction film Edge of Tomorrow was one of Cruise’s more interesting films in his recent career, and grossed an impressive $370 million. The combination of Cruise playing against type as a cowardly bureaucrat being locked in a cycle of alien-invasion death by a time loop resonated with audiences. After all, it is a pretty rare thing that we get to see Tom Cruise die on screen, outside of the Los Angeles subway system. For years, there has been discussion of a sequel, especially as Blunt’s career in sleeper hit alien invasion science fiction films has become a major part of her resume. It now appears that the future of an Edge of Tomorrow TV series may be in jeopardy, at least depending on how this Village Roadshow lawsuit pans out.
It feels unlikely that A-listers like Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt would return to Edge of Tomorrow as a TV series, though megastars are being increasingly wooed to the small screen. Leonardo DiCaprio is set to star in a Hulu limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City, with Keanu Reeves also in talks. Even a decade ago, it would seem like a steep downgrade for stars to stoop to TV, but times change. Cruise himself has been increasingly relying on the franchise power of his Mission: Impossible movies for the immense box office grosses he has drawn for decades, but rumors are swirling that he is preparing to step away from those as well. Of course, he is also currently working on building a film studio in orbit so he can shoot movies in space, so never let it be said that Tom Cruise thinks small.
The lawsuit from Village Roadshow involving an Edge of Tomorrow TV series (as well as Matrix Resurrections and the upcoming Timothee Chalamet-starring prequel Wonka) may turn out to be a historically important one, or it may be quietly put away like Scarlett Johansson’s Disney previous lawsuit. Only time, and the court system, can tell.