Last week, following the firing of Colin Trevorrow from Star Wars: Episode 9, it was revealed that J.J. Abrams would be taking the helm for the closing chapter of this new trilogy. Of course, this was met with both praise and ridicule from fans. Some, who loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens, saw it as another assurance that the final film would be another solid entry, and others who saw The Force Awakens as a retreated feared this would be a retread of Return of the Jedi as a result.
Though while fans can argue back and forth about whether or not his joining the film is a good thing, there is at least one person to whom this is awful news according to THR: Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos. For those who don’t know, Paramount is Abrams’ “home studio,” where is he contracted to do the majority of his projects. In his 11 years there, he’s managed to direct two Star Trek films and Super 8. Additionally, he’s produced more than a handful of films with Mission: Impossible 3, 4 and 5, the Star Trek films, both Cloverfield films, and that’s not even to mention the upcoming Cloverfield movie next year.
The previous CEO of Paramount, Brad Grey, was supposedly upset when Abrams took on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that was Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and when the film was done, they set to work renegotiating his next film. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. As stated above, Abrams has since committed himself to Star Wars: Episode 9.
This puts the studio in an annoying position. They obviously want to get as much out of Abrams as possible while they have him under contract, and with it expiring in 2018, the making of Star Wars will take up the rest of Abrams’ time until 2019. However, in trying to enforce it too aggressively, they run the risk of alienating Abrams (who they want to renew his contract), and making enemies out of Disney, Lucasfilm, and Steven Spielberg.
From the sound of it, they spend somewhere neighborhood of $10 million in overhead and development costs, and some of that will be paid for by Disney, but it’s not clear if they’ll be paying for all of it (which, in this writer’s opinion, they should). It’s not a perfect solution, but given the market value of Abrams, and how much he may bring in for Paramount down the line, it’s an understandable move.
“You might not put him in the pantheon [alongside Spielberg],” one studio insider told the outlet, “but he’s a writer, producer and director. There aren’t too many of those guys. You can’t be an asshole and say no. You do the right thing, and hopefully people repay that.”
It’s not a fun position to be in, but such is the reality of Hollywood and studio politics.
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