J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Nearing Megadeal with WarnerMedia

     June 17, 2019

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The battle of the suitors is reportedly at an end, as J.J. Abrams has settled on where his Bad Robot production company will call home for the foreseeable future. With Bad Robot’s feature film deal at Paramount Pictures up for renegotiation, Abrams and those at his company (including CEO Katie McGrath) met with various studios around Hollywood to explore options as to where it would next set up shop. Netflix, Amazon, and Apple pulled out all the stops, as did WarnerMedia, Comcast, and Sony Entertainment, but THR now reports that Abrams and Bad Robot are in final negotiations with WarnerMedia for a partnership that could be worth up to $500 million.

Under this new deal, Bad Robot will develop and create new projects for WarnerMedia and supervise other producers across film, TV, and digital platforms. Distribution was no doubt key for Abrams, and while Apple and Sony reportedly came close to landing this coveted deal, ultimately WarnerMedia won out. Not only does WarnerMedia have existing relationships with Abrams through Bad Robot’s Warner Bros. TV deal, but they also have extensive branding opportunities—theme park-wise, Warner Bros. collaborates with Universal Studios on the highly lucrative Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions. On top of all that, with streaming a priority, WarnerMedia is readying to launch its own streaming service in 2020 with a robust library and new original TV shows already in development.

Since the deal isn’t yet closed it’s unclear the length to which this contract extends, but it’s a smart move for Abrams. While his feature directorial work has been relegated to Star Wars and Star Trek movies over the last decade, he continues to develop and produce plenty of exciting television content. He already has three new series in the works at HBO, including Demimonde, the first show Abrams has written and created since Alias. He has a trio of series in the works at Apple, but all of them are being produced by Warner Bros. TV.

Stay tuned as we should have more details when the official announcement comes in due time. But for now, rest assured that J.J. Abrams is (mostly) sticking with a traditional studio deal at WarnerMedia rather than skipping over to a streaming company like Netflix or Amazon. Next up for Abrams: the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker this December, which of course hails from Walt Disney Studios.

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