Sources say Apple was willing to pay more than $500 million for Abrams’ Bad Robot production company, which wound up taking less money to stay with WarnerMedia.
After a nearly year-long courting process that saw J.J. Abrams and his wife and Bad Robot partner Katie McGrath take meetings with tech giants and traditional studios, the duo ultimately opted to take less money than they could have earned to stay with WarnerMedia.
According to sources familiar with the deal, Bad Robot’s five-year pact announced Thursday is worth at least $250 million and possibly much more thanks to various financial incentives. It will see Abrams and company develop and produce new film, TV, video game and digital projects for WarnerMedia’s various divisions, which include Warner Bros., HBO and the upcoming HBO Max streaming service.
According to sources, the ability to sell product to other outlets — i.e. setting up Lisey’s Story, one of his three shows at Apple via Warner Bros. TV — was paramount to Bad Robot signing anywhere. It also is among the reasons why Bad Robot left millions of dollars on the table and walked away from what could have been a record-setting blockbuster deal with Apple.
MacDailyNews Take: Apple wanted exclusivity. Abrams wanted freedom. Abrams is betting on himself here and it’s a good bet he’ll make more with the way his Warner deal is constructed than a set figure, even $1 billion, to be only-Apple for several years.