For the past week or two, studios have been putting on a big dog and pony show for filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, in hopes of landing worldwide distribution rights to his latest film, which will be set in 1969, around the time of the infamous Charles Manson family murders. According to Deadline, Sony beat out virtually every other big studio (excluding Disney), including Warner Bros. and Paramount.
The deciding factor for Tarantino revolved around Sony exec Tom Rothman’s film history knowledge. As a huge lover of the medium, he likely struck a chord with the filmmaker that helped to win him over. Of course, there are also the terms to consider.
The terms of the deal aren’t fully known, but there are a couple of details, courtesy of Variety. According to them, Tarantino is demanding a budget of around $100 million (which isn’t new), in addition to first dollar gross on the film. This means that he will be getting some of the revenue on the film, before any of their taxes, fees, expenses, or debts are paid off. Basically, he gets a percentage of the gross income, rather than just a taste of the profits. This narrowed the playing field quite a bit, as it’s understandably difficult for a studio to make money with these terms.
One other note in the report that’s worth mentioning is that some studios were put off by the “controversial subject matter.” Given that the Manson murders will be a part of the backdrop in some way (though Tarantino has since clarified that the movie isn’t ABOUT the murders), it’s easy to see why. We’re likely to see Tarantino at his most unflinching.
This is a huge get for Sony. While they haven’t exactly flopped hard recently (despite questionable films and terrible critical reception), they have a bad habit of relying solely on brand names. This film from Tarantino will hopefully give them extra credibility.
This changeup from The Weinstein Company (Tarantino’s longtime partner) to Sony comes on the heels of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal, making it necessary for Tarantino to sever ties. Needless to say, this put Tarantino in quite the position to bargain for these ridiculous terms.
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