The studio behind blockbuster Mission: Impossible 7 has sued its insurance company for allegedly not covering Covid costs incurred during delays in production. The film, starring Tom Cruise as globe-trotting secret agent Ethan Hunt, has endured a difficult shoot due to the pandemic.
Production began in Venice, Italy, in February 2020 but shut down later that month due to illness of a “covered” person, according to Paramount’s lawsuit. Work on the Tom Cruise-starring Mission Impossible 7 was repeatedly delayed during the pandemic (Matt Crossick/PA)Filming was then reset to begin in Rome the following month, however in the face of the worsening pandemic the Italian government imposed quarantine measures, delaying work on the film.
Mission: Impossible 7 was later moved to the UK but production stopped again due to the virus. The most recent shutdown – the seventh – came in June following positive tests for Covid-19 among the cast and crew in the UK, the lawsuit states. However, Federal Insurance Company has refused to pay out fully for costs incurred due to the disruption, it is alleged. The lawsuit, filed at a federal court in California, accuses insurer Federal of breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
Mission: Impossible filming took place in the UK but was disrupted by the pandemic (Danny Lawson/PA)Paramount’s lawyers say the studio was covered for losses exceeding more than 100 million dollars (£73 million) resulting from delays and interruptions during production. After incurring the “significant losses”, the studio then attempted to recoup its money from Federal, it is claimed.
However, Federal refused, the lawsuit states, and allegedly argued several of Paramount’s losses should be limited to a category of coverage providing only one million dollars (£73 million).Federal and other insurers were warned for years about the potential risks of a pandemic and should have known it could face hefty pay outs in the event of a global health crisis, it is claimed.
Federal’s conduct is contemptible and has been done with a conscious disregard of Paramount’s rights, constituting oppression, fraud, and/or malice
It is said the insurer only paid a “small portion” of Paramount’s losses, “denying coverage for the majority of them” and as a result “breached the parties’ contract”. The 22-page court filing states: “Federal’s conduct is contemptible and has been done with a conscious disregard of Paramount’s rights, constituting oppression, fraud, and/or malice.”
Paramount is seeking unspecified damages. This is not the first example of a studio suing an insurance company for Covid-induced losses. Producers on the Ben Affleck action film Hypnotic launched legal action against an insurer for allegedly failing to extend its coverage amid delays in filming.
And producers making the second season of Apple TV+ drama The Morning Show also sued, alleging its insurer would not pay out on its production delays. Both of those lawsuits were against Chubb National Insurance Company, the parent company of Federal. Mission: Impossible 7, the latest instalment in the 3.5 billion dollar franchise, is set for release in May 2022.