Thomas Tull, who founded Legendary Pictures back in 2000 and was up until now acting as CEO of the company has resigned from his position.
In the official statement, Legendary’s interim CEO John Gao says:
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. 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.
On his part, Tull said:
Building Legendary has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I have had the unique opportunity to be at the forefront of where the business is going and lead an incredible group of people as we innovated the way we thought about the film and television business, and the possibilities of collaboration between the west and the east. After a year of transition, I know that the Company is stable with great leadership, so at this point I am able to leave and pursue the new interests and endeavors I have been planning.
Following its creation thanks to Tull rising money from private equity firms, Legendary Pictures quickly rose to fame after signing a production deal with Warner Bros. Pictures for seven years. The first film it produced was Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and it was followed by a string of high profile projects such as Superman Returns, 300, The Dark Knight, Watchmen, The Hangover, Where the Wild Things Are, Clash of the Titans, Inception, Sucker Punch, The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel and Godzilla.
When their deal with Warner Bros. expired, Tull signed a similar agreement with Universal Pictures, but their partnership so far hasn’t been as successful with only Jurassic World being a big success, and something the production company wasn’t even involved with until late in the game.
In January 2016, Legendary was acquired by the Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group by a reported $3.5 billion. Following the acquisition Tull had retained his position at the company.
Tull was by far the CEO most involved with the projects his company was working on, being a true movie fan himself he pushed for projects that no other studio would have pursued like Pacific Rim and another shot at making an American Godzilla. While he was in charge he also supported the filmmakers vision and collaborated with his directors. It comes as a surprise that he would leave the company he started, but given the current string of hits and misses, looks like the new Chinese owners are not very happy with his current handling of the company.
Tull will remain a producer on Legendary’s shared monster universe that includes Godzilla and King Kong, and the recently announced projects based on Dune.