J.J Abrams and Bad Robot Productions are officially staying at WarnerMedia.
J.J Abrams, his wife and Bad Robot co-CEO Katie McGrath have inked a new five-year, an all-encompassing overall deal with WarnerMedia. The agreement, which multiple sources say is worth more in the line of $250 million as opposed to the previously reported $500 million estimate.
The deal, which runs through 2024, is being described as an exclusive contract, and will see Abrams and co. developing film and television projects for the media conglomerate. Bad Robot will also tackle digital content and video game development over the course of the contract.
What remains unclear as of now is if Abrams will have the opportunity to pursue feature film directing jobs for studios other than Warner Bros. Pictures. Insiders say that Abrams will honor pre-existing commitments to his former feature home Paramount, as well as his work with Disney for the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey made courting Bad Robot his top priority. The production company pitched itself to numerous other studios, including Disney and Netflix, but were most impressed by Stankey and his ability to showcase the possibilities of staying at Warner.
“WarnerMedia and AT&T are delighted to launch a long-term collaboration with our world-class partners and colleagues J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath. We are extremely excited about the potential to deliver remarkable and memorable stories and characters across multiple platforms to audiences around the world. J.J., Katie and all of Bad Robot bring extraordinary vision, exquisite filmmaking, and exemplary industry leadership to this endeavor and our company,” Stankey said. “Across all forms of content, we are uniquely positioned to offer our creative partners a multitude of platforms to realize their artistic goals and ambitions, and to ensure that their stories have the best possible opportunity to connect with the right audience. I’d also like to recognize the leadership of Warner Bros. Television Group president and chief content officer Peter Roth who has known J.J. and Katie for many years and developed opportunities that turned into a longstanding, mutually beneficial partnership, which will now flourish for many years into the future across the entire WarnerMedia and AT&T family.“
For reference, Abrams’ deal is in the same financial vicinity as Greg Berlanti ($400 million from Warner), Ryan Murphy ($300 million from Netflix) and Shonda Rhimes ($100 million from Netflix).
The deal is seen as a major win for WarnerMedia, as it readies itself for launch of its own streaming service, HBO Max, which will become a direct competitor to Disney+, Netflix, Amazon, and Apple TV+. The thought of HBO Max was a luring point for Bad Robot, which prioritized being part of a larger company with TV and film distribution.
“It is a thrill for Katie, Brian (Weinstein) and me and the rest of our team at Bad Robot to call WarnerMedia our company’s new home,” said J.J Abrams. “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 gratified to be a part of this new chapter under his and Ann Sarnoff’s thoughtful leadership. I could go on for hours, and probably will, about the extraordinary Peter Roth and the entire Warner’s television group, with whom we’ve worked for over a decade, and I’ve wanted to collaborate with Toby Emmerich and his team for as long as I can remember. I am grateful for the chance to write, produce and direct work for this incredible company, and to help create films and series with a diverse and vast collection of inspiring storytellers. We can’t wait to get started.”