J.J. Abrams is closing in on a mega-deal that could be a landmark moment in the entertainment industry. That may sound a bit dramatic, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
We first learned back in November that the prolific producer/director of shows like Lost and movies such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens was looking to set up a new, all-encompassing deal at a major studio for his Bad Robot production company. Now, two frontrunners have apparently emerged in the form of WarnerMedia and Apple.
According to several reports, both WarnerMedia, the company that emerged as a result of the recent AT&T and Warner Bros. merger, and Apple have managed to entice J.J. Abrams and it’s become a two-horse race. Disney, Netflix and Universal were also said to be in the running and they all did their best to try and convince Abrams why they were best suited to partner up on his future ambitions. The situation was apparently described as being like The Bachelor, with each studio trying to win him over.
Disney CEO Bob Iger even met with J.J. Abrams personally in order to make a case for the Mouse House, who is easily the biggest game in town right now. Abrams is currently making The Rise of Skywalker, the finale to the current Star Wars trilogy with them, and Iger leaned heavy on their existing relationship, as well as Disney’s vast resources. Yet, it looks like they’re pretty much out of it.
Bad Robot currently has a deal in place with Warner Bros. Television that expires this year, with a movie deal set up at Paramount which expires in 2020. Given the name that J.J. Abrams has built up for himself over the years, having been behind some of the most successful movies and TV shows of the last decade, he decided he could potentially take his business elsewhere and expand the scope of his operation. The scope of the deal is truly huge, as it’s said to include possible TV shows, movies, digital content, music, games, consumer products and even theme-park opportunities. And it won’t come cheap, as the deal Abrams is looking to lock down is said to be somewhere in the $500 million range, which would set a new gold standard for what a sought-after creative is worth.
Though, some are skeptical that J.J. Abrams is actually worth that kind of money. Abrams’ biggest hits have been within existing franchises, such as his 2009 Star Trek reboot, his work on the Mission: Impossible series and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There is skepticism about his ability to create big, original hits. Abrams has produced the Cloverfield franchise and directed movies like Super 8, but those aren’t necessarily on the blockbuster level that a studio might be looking for when it comes to spending that kind of money.
With WarnerMedia, they have a new streaming service set to launch later this year, as well as NBC networks and Warner Bros. studios on the movie side. They could potentially accommodate anything he’s looking for. Apple, meanwhile, will launch their own Apple+ service later this year and is investing heavily in content. If they land a guy like J.J. Abrams, it will be a big boost to their brand. A deal is expected to be announced in early summer. This news was previously reported by Variety.