J.J. Abrams may have saved Disney’s bacon by stepping in to direct Star Wars: Episode IX at the eleventh hour, but it’s left Paramount in something of an unhappy spot as a result.
Abrams has been tied to Paramount for the bulk of his mainstream career, having been involved in the last three of the studio’s Mission: Impossible movies, two Star Treks, both Cloverfield features, and the well-received Super 8, with a further directorial effort for the studio reportedly planned for within the next two years. Those plans however – part of an overall deal between Paramount and Abrams – have left the former in the lurch due to the sudden nature of the Episode IX gig.
Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos is reportedly “not happy” with the popular filmmaker, yet didn’t have much choice but to accommodate his second departure for Star Wars when Disney agreed to pay a seven figure sum to cover his absence.
What’s interesting is that – with Episode IX due for release at the end of 2019 – it will arrive after the conclusion of the deal between director and studio, a deal Paramount – in good faith – hopes he will renew as a result of allowing his absence for this second Star Wars sabbatical.
The timing for Paramount couldn’t be worse though, with the studio desperate at this stage for a major critical and commercial hit in the wake of a rough few years that’s seen only a handful of moderate financial successes (Daddy’s Home, the internationally sellable Transformers series) against outright box office duds (the recent Baywatch, this month’s controversial mother!).
Source: Hollywood Reporter