It's official: J.J. Abrams has solidified its future in WarnerMedia.
Abrams and his wife and co-CEO of Bad Robot, Katie McGrath, have signed a new five-year general agreement with WarnerMedia. The agreement, which according to several sources is worth more in the $ 250 million line compared to the estimated $ 500 million previously reported, marks the first time Abrams has had its film and television offerings under the same roof. The new pact, which runs until 2024 and is described as "exclusive," also includes video games and digital content for the first time. Abrams is expected to create original feature films for WarnerMedia.
The formal announcement comes more than three months later. The Hollywood reporter He made the news that WarnerMedia had won the draw for the services of Abrams and Bad Robot after a process of courtship of almost a year that was hidden in secret during which multiple suitors persecuted the prolific producer.
It has not yet been determined whether Abrams will have the opportunity to perform feature film directing work for studios other than Warner Bros. Pictures, although sources emphasize that Abrams will fulfill pre-existing commitments with its former home, Paramount, and previously announced agreements that cover Star Wars. It is also not clear if WarnerMedia got an investment stake in Bad Robot, although several sources say it is a different possibility.
The Bad Robot agreement keeps Abrams in the studio he has called home since 2006. With the new contract, Abrams and the company will continue to create and develop new projects for WarnerMedia and will supervise other producers through film, television and film platforms. digital. The agreement will also continue to allow Bad Robot to sell to external suppliers, a detail that is considered of utmost importance to Abrams.
The process of months of moving the film agreement of Bad Robot from Paramount Pictures, owned by Viacom, began in June and was recently completed, which prompted the official announcement of the media giant. "It's bittersweet to leave our movie house for a long time, Paramount Pictures," Abrams said in a statement to THR. "It has been an unforgettable trip. We are incredibly grateful to the study team, past and present, especially the incomparable Jim Gianopulos and the super talented Liz Raposo. We still have a series of great stories to tell together, and for that, I feel extremely fortunate ".
Sources say WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey made wooing Bad Robot his top priority. In his decision to stay, Bad Robot rejected the most lucrative offers of technology companies and was impressed with Stankey and his ability to offer such a broad agreement. The procession of courtship saw Bad Robot present itself to companies such as Disney, Netflix and Apple as a larger consumer brand and search, with traditional studies, for a guaranteed number of releases per year.
"WarnerMedia and AT&T are delighted to launch a long-term collaboration with our world-clbad partners and colleagues JJ Abrams and Katie McGrath. We are extremely excited about the potential to offer remarkable and memorable stories and characters on multiple platforms for audiences around the world. JJ, Katie and all Bad Robot bring extraordinary vision, exquisite filming and exemplary leadership in the industry to this effort and to our company, "said Stankey. "In all forms of content, we are uniquely positioned to offer our creative partners a multitude of platforms to achieve their artistic goals and ambitions and to ensure that their stories have the best possible opportunity to connect with the right audience. I also I'd like to acknowledge the leadership of Warner Bros. Television Group's president and content director, Peter Roth, who has known JJ and Katie for many years and developed opportunities that became a long-lasting and mutually beneficial partnership, which will now flourish for many years in the future in the entire WarnerMedia and AT&T family. "
The Abrams and Bad Robot pact officially has the prolific producer in the same financial neighborhood as Greg Berlanti ($ 400 million Warners), Ryan Murphy ($ 300 million Netflix) and Shonda Rhimes ($ 100 million Netflix). The biggest difference that separates the Bad Robot agreement from Berlanti & # 39; s and Murphy & # 39; s is the lack of a library to buy. Warners, for example, bought Berlanti endpoints in programs such as Arrow Y The flash. Still, although sources say the deal is valued at $ 250 million, it could reach thousands of millions Abrams should successfully create an original feature film franchise. Like TV endpoints, the WarnerMedia content agreement includes considerable financial incentives in the films created by Abrams. It is said that it was a key point in the negotiation process.
Abrams and Bad Robot were considered the largest fish in the crazily competitive waters of the general agreement. Multiple studios and streamers at least kicked the tires or engaged in a hypercompetitive effort to woo Abrams and McGrath into a possible rich pact for the company behind the successes that include HBO Westworld and from Hulu Rock castle, among others. Netflix, Apple, Amazon and other media titans WarnerMedia, Comcast and Sony Entertainment were some of those who, according to sources, knew or explored an agreement with Bad Robot. Sources say Abrams and Bad Robot executives, including TV chief Ben Stephenson, gathered throughout the city as they considered moving their general Warner Bros. TV agreement, where the company supports Stripe It is based since 2006. While outlets such as Apple and Sony approached, the sources emphasize that WarnerMedia emerged at the top in the spring when it became clear that Bad Robot prioritized being part of a larger company with TV distribution and movies, including WarnerMedia's next SVOD service, HBO Max.
WarnerMedia, now under Stankey's leadership, is one of the companies that did everything possible to keep Abrams in the company. According to multiple sources, a great consideration that weighed on Stankey was the desire to keep his precious producer within the company's fold. Sources say McGrath, who is also a founding member of Time & # 39; s Up, conveyed to Stankey in unequivocal terms that the continued presence of Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara was a "value" problem while she and Abrams They explored their company's options. Tsujihara resigned on March 18 following The Hollywood reporterThe publication of texts that reveal that the executive had had an affair with British actress Charlotte Kirk and then tried to help her get roles in Warners' television shows and movies.
To further complicate the bidding process was the ongoing war between the Writers Guild of America and the agencies for packing fees and affiliated studies. Abrams and Bad Robot stopped working with CAA representatives in all areas, except for the management. Since CAA no longer leads the charge, the process slowed considerably and lasted until spring and early summer, but sources say Abrams continued to meet with the president of Warner Bros. TV Group, Peter Roth and Stankey, with whom He has had a continuous relationship.
"It's an emotion for Katie, Brian [Weinstein] and me and the rest of our team at Bad Robot to call WarnerMedia the new home of our company, "Abrams said." John Stankey has a powerful vision for the future of WarnerMedia and is committed to storytelling that connects people around the world. We are excited and satisfied to be part of this new chapter under the attentive leadership of him and Ann Sarnoff. I could go on for hours, and probably will, on the extraordinary Peter Roth and the entire Warner television group, with whom we have worked for more than a decade, and have wanted to collaborate with Toby Emmerich and his team for so long. as I can remember I am grateful for the opportunity to write, produce and direct the work for this amazing company and help create films and series with a diverse and vast collection of inspiring storytellers. We can't wait to start. "
Abrams, who is currently editing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – The latest installment of the Skywalker saga – for Disney, was one of Warners' main TV producers at a time when brand showrunners have an increasingly high demand. Warners, Comcast and Disney are planning streaming services in an attempt to compete with Netflix, Amazon and Apple. Netflix helped exploit the market for the creators of proven successes when he signed Rhimes and, later, Murphy, to nine-figure general agreements, which led both producers to leave their respective long-standing homes at ABC Studios and 20th Century Fox Television Between the acceleration of the content produced internally for the next transmission platforms and the dispute between writers and agents, the demand of the best writers and producers has further raised these already amazing pacts for the main creators. The market for such creators has also become so fierce that some showrunners are now signing multiple TV offers, offering their services exclusively for transmission and transmission.
On the television side, Abrams is preparing an HBO drama, Lovecraft country (with Jordan Peele), and the executive produces Rock castle Y Westworld with showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonah Nolan. (The last duo left their former home in Warners for a lucrative five-year, $ 150 million contract with Amazon Studios.) Abrams is also working on Mundane women, the first series he has written and created since Alias (which also recently changed to showrunners). The genre drama came to HBO after a multi-exit war of offers, and the premium cable maker also acquired the burning script Both die at the end from Abrams and The other two Breakout Chris Kelly Abrams and Bad Robot also have three shows in process at Apple: Stephen King's adaptation Lisey's story, starring Julianne Moore; Sara Bareilles & # 39; Small voice; and Jennifer Garner's vehicle My glory was that I had such friends. The three were selected directly to the series in the middle of the competition of multiple points of sale, with Apple also making an aggressive play for Bad Robot. The company also launched its video game division, Bad Robot Games, in 2018 in partnership with Tencent and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
All these projects are produced by Warner Bros. TV, which last year extended to the Berlanti mega-producer with a general agreement estimated at $ 400 million. Currently, Berlanti has the television record of the most written originals currently being broadcast (19 in seven outlets and more in process). Its agreement also includes financial incentives when it reaches an increasing number of shows.
Given that WarnerMedia is expected to reveal its direct consumer subscription platform in the fourth quarter (in beta), keeping Abrams in the fold was considered a high priority for independent study. After the departure of Joy and Nolan to Amazon, reinstalling Bad Robot was increasingly important for the study, which continues to aggressively pursue the best talents. The study recently signed Mindy Kaling and Ava DuVernay with rich general offers. For his part, Warners promoted Susan Rovner and Brett Paul to the presidents of the television studio while taking over the daily supervision of the former Roth executive's unit. Roth, who remains under contract until 2020, will continue to serve on the Warner Bros. interim leadership team alongside Toby Emmerich and Kim Williams during the search in an executive's study to replace the overthrown Tsujihara. The next step for the study will be to inking mega-producer Chuck Lorre (Big Bang Theory, Young sheldon, Mom, Kominsky's method) to a new pact since its general with WBTV expires in June 2020.
Bad Robot is represented by Jackoway Austen.