Last week, J.J. Abrams and his production company, Bad Robot, announced a wide-ranging deal with WarnerMedia valued around $250 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter. That’s quite the payday for the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director, and yet it’s just half of what he reportedly turned down from Apple.
Abrams elected to go with WarnerMedia despite its lower offer. The five-year deal puts all of Bad Robot’s divisions (film, TV, video games, and digital content) under the same roof for the first time. Abrams will direct and produce films and TV series for both theatrical distribution and also the company’s own upcoming streaming service, HBO Max.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Apple wanted Abrams to make new projects only for Apple and no other third-party distributor. (Such exclusivity would have prevented Abrams from directing the Star Wars movies for Disney, for instance.) The ability to sell content to other companies, which WarnerMedia will allow him, was “of the utmost importance to Abrams,” The Hollywood Reporter noted.
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.