How much is Blumhouse’s reputation as the go-to studio for quick, slightly dirty, and frequently successful genre filmmaking worth? That’s at the heart of a new legal complaint that Jason Blum’s studio has issued against both Hulu and Emmett Furla Oasis Films, the studio behind this year’s Frank Grillo action vehicle Boss Level. Remember Boss Level? Time loop action movie with a smattering of video game logic? Grillo keeps getting killed? Mel Gibson is in it as part of the “I’m a gritty action heavy now, so no one needs to look at the ‘Personal life’ section of my Wikipedia page anymore” portion of his career?
“Success” is always a difficult thing to judge with a streaming project, but Boss Level certainly didn’t do very well with critics—our own C- review, penned by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, calls the film “clumsy” and overly sentimental, noting that it’s actually significantly less fun than the video games it’s ostensibly taking as its inspiration. Which makes it interesting to learn that the version of Boss Level that we got was actually a “fixed” version of the movie—fixed, as it turns out, by Blumhouse.
That, per THR, is at the crux of this breach of contract suit against EFO Films: Blumhouse says that it was asked to recut the movie after it initially failed to find distribution—including from Hulu, who passed on that original cut. The Purge studio then poured its “creativity and labor” into the picture, including adding “new material” and a “new final shot” to Joe Carnahan’s film, which, the lawsuit asserts, was deemed “disappointing and lacking in commercial appeal” in its previous form. (Harsh!)
All of which was supposed to lead to Blumhouse getting a cut out of any licensing deal that was made for Boss Level, like, say, the one EFO Films arranged with Hulu. Per the suit, that fee would have amounted to about $500,000 (a.k.a., 5 percent of an $11.75 million deal), money which was, apparently never paid. Hence the lawsuits—including one aimed at Hulu, demanding that the streamer cease “exploiting” Blumhouse’s hard work on, uh, Boss Level.
Anyway, there are two big takeaways here. First: The version of Boss Level that we got was the good version! Who knew? Second: This is now the single most interesting thing about Boss Level, a statement we’re pretty sure is inclusive of the actual events of the film.