J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath have inked a five-year deal with WarnerMedia to bring all of Bad Robot’s film, TV and digital properties under Warner’s roof. The agreement is rumored to be worth $250 million and will lock Bad Robot under the WarnerMedia umbrella from 2020 to 2024. Abrams will also be expected to produce original features for WarnerMedia.
Bad Robot has been J.J. Abrams' studio since 2006, and the WarnerMedia deal includes a clause that allows it to continue selling products to third parties. This clause makes sense, given Abrams’ determination to honor all his previous commitments with other outlets. Those currently include, among others, HBO’s dramas Lovecraft Country, Castle Rock, Westworld and Demimonde and Apple’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story, not to mention all those rumored projects with Disney on the heels of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Another part of the agreement negotiations included financial incentives for Bad Robot if Abrams manages to create feature films and, ideally, an original franchise.
Bad Robot’s previous home was Paramount Pictures, which is owned by Viacom, and whose agreement will expire in March 2020. Although the courting process began in June 2019, Abrams and McGrath had reportedly pitched Bad Robot to Disney, Netflix and Apple, looking for a partnership that would guarantee them a certain number of releases per year. While these came very close to WarnerMedia with their offers, the latter won because Bad Robot preferred belonging to a larger company that could manage film and TV distribution.
“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," Abrams said of the deal.