Star Wars and Star Trek director JJ Abrams recently signed a deal with WarnerMedia for his company Bad Robot to make new movies, TV shows, and video games in an agreement said to be worth $250 million. Other companies wanted to sign Abrams and Bad Robot as well, including iPhone company Apple. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Apple came to Abrams with an offer in the area of $500 million, but the veteran TV and movie producer said no for what sounds like a good reason.
THR claims that Apple’s half-a-billion-dollar offer came with a major string attached: that Abrams and Bad Robot would develop content exclusively for Apple. This would have meant that Abrams would not be permitted to pursue other projects, and he has many of these.
Abrams is currently partnered with Disney on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which he directed, while he is also reportedly attached to Paramount for something new in the Star Trek series. In the world of video games, Abrams is working with Fortnite developer Epic on a new title called Spyjinx. Abrams is currently also developing a sci-fi show with HBO called Contraband, while he’s making a new superhero movie called The Heavy with Paramount; he’s also producing the movie Zanbato with Guillermo del Toro.
According to THR, there were “several factors” that led to Bad Robot deciding to pass on Apple’s offer, and the exclusivity requirement was one of them. Another issue was “Apple’s lack of a theatrical distribution model,” according to the report. Apple’s lack of IP was also cited.
One of the reasons Bad Robot ultimately signed with WarnerMedia was because of the “larger opportunities” related to working with an established media giant as opposed to a relative newcomer in the entertainment space like Apple. The deal was “less about money,” and more about those future opportunities, THR reported.
As part of the deal with WarnerMedia, Bad Robot will produce more TV shows in the genres of drama, comedy, and longform, among others, and these will be produced for traditional TV and streaming services alike. WarnerMedia owns HBO, so you can expect some of the content to show up on HBO’s platforms.