'Fast & Furious' producer fired but will be paid millions to stay away

Ben Arnold
Vin Diesel in The Fate of the Furious (Credit: Universal)

The producer of the Fast & Furious movies has been fired from the forthcoming spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, and all future movies in the series.

But due to a 'pay-or-play' deal set up with Universal Studios, he will likely be paid millions of dollars just to stay away from set.

Read more: First Hobbs & Shaw trailer

Neal Moritz formulated the franchise, after being given an article by Universal from Vibe magazine in 1998 about an undercover illegal street racing circuit in New York.

Bringing in director Rob Cohen to make the first film in 2001 and casting Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, Moritz has produced every Fast & Furious film since, making the studio over $5 billion.

But now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Moritz has been dropped by Universal in the wake of an ugly legal battle.

Vin Diesel and producer Neal Moritz arrive at the premiere of Fast & Furious 6 (Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

He's said to be no longer involved in the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, likely to be the first in a series of movies starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, and has been 'banished' from future movies in the series too, including the ninth F&F movie which will start shooting in the coming weeks.

The report says that Moritz was dropped 'on the eve of shooting' Hobbs & Shaw, and is now seeking millions for what he's owed in his producer role, and further millions 'in reputational damages'.

Read more: Has Vin Diesel joined the Avatar 2 cast?

Sources close to the situation added that the studio has 'a long, torturous history' with Moritz, involving various legal battles over profits shared from the movies.

The franchise is the ninth highest-grossing of all time, and more movies and spin-offs are planned too.

As well as more in the Hobbs & Shaw series, it's said that the studio is working up plans for another spin-off series focusing on Charlize Theron's Cipher character from The Fate of the Furious, the eighth movie, released in 2017.

Hobbs & Shaw, meanwhile, also starring Idris Elba, hits screens in the UK in August.