J.J. Abrams Brings Bad Robot Productions To WarnerMedia
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J.J. Abrams Brings Bad Robot Productions To WarnerMedia, Turns Down Bigger Payday

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BY February 18, 2021

When you hear the name J.J. Abrams, you’re going to think about money. The filmmaker has lent his work to mega-successful films from Star Trek to Star Wars. Not only do these films carry huge budgets, but give Abrams a nice take-home pay, too. Most recently, however, he’s been in the news for earning less money than expected.  Abrams is the founder, chairman, and co-CEO (with his wife, Katie McGrath) of Bad Robot Productions. Apple has apparently offered J.J. Abrams a pretty big sum of money to work with them, but Bad Robot Productions has decided to stay with WarnerMedia for less. So, why?

What Has Bad Robot Productions Done So Far?

Ignoring the success of Abrams for a moment, the production company has a long list of hits. For one, they worked with Lucasfilm Ltd. to produce Star Warns: The Force Awakens. TFA ended up at the top of the list for the highest domestic gross in the U.S. box office and earned $2.068 billion worldwide on a gross budget of $306 million. Not bad. The production company is also responsible for popular films like 10 Cloverfield Lane, multiple Mission: Impossible films, and Star Trek. Bad Robot Productions also co-produced the mega-successful television show of the mid-2000s, Lost. More recently, their television hits include Westworld and Castle RockSo, it’s safe to say that Bad Robot Productions is good at making money already.

Bad Robot Productions WarnerMedia Image via screengrab

Apple Versus WarnerMedia

In a WarnerMedia press release, the entertainment conglomerate announced its content collaboration agreement with Bad Robot Productions. The company calls it a “strategic relationship” with the goal of creating original projects for television, film, gaming, and other digital platforms. The deal is set to last at least five years, through to 2024. Financial terms have not officially been disclosed, but Hollywood Reporter cited that sources are claiming the deal to be worth at least $250 million or more. WarnerMedia includes assets like HBO and the upcoming HBO Max, and Warner Bros.

While shopping around for potential partnerships, Bad Robot Productions met with Apple. Their deal was upwards of $500 million. The production company would have to work exclusively with Apple. That means no outside work, including Disney or Paramount, which own Star Wars and Star Trek. Apple also has no theatrical distribution model in place, which could hurt Bad Robot Productions, whose main money-makers have been huge hits at the box office. The production company’s ability to sell to other outlets was likely the biggest determining factor in turning down Apple, despite being offered more upfront.

So, What’s Next For Bad Robot Productions?

WarnerMedia has a lot of power when it comes to making a feature film. So, sources expect the partnership with Abrams to produce a new hit franchise. With the latest Star Wars trilogy coming to an end, we don’t expect Abrams to go long without being attached to such a massive franchise. Plus, with so many streaming services competing for the next big series, it’s likely that Bad Robot Productions will aim to have a hit series on HBO Max. But, with the ability to sell to other services, we expect even bigger things from Bad Robot Productions over the next few years. In fact, WarnerMedia may hand Bad Robot Productions the keys to their DC superhero kingdom. Abrams is excellent at rebooting struggling franchises, and he even wrote a Superman script 17 years ago.

So, readers, what do you hope to see come from Bad Robot Productions and J.J. Abrams now that they’re with WarnerMedia? Is there a franchise you’d like them to tackle? Let us know!

Featured image via Gage Skidmore on Flickr.

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Meghan Hale is a graduate student living right outside of Toronto, Canada. She has always been the go-to gal for talking about anything film related and has a frustratingly long list of movie trivia up her sleeve. She is currently working on her first screenplay, as well as a horror novel, with the goal of publishing it while Stephen King is still around to read it.

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