Bad Robot, the production company where director and producer J.J. Abrams serves as co-CEO, is under scrutiny at Warner Bros. Discovery, according to sources who spoke to the Hollywood Reporter. The issue at hand appears to be a lack of return on Bad Robot’s $250 million deal with Warner Bros., which was signed back in 2019.
A chunk of that deal has apparently gone toward Abrams’ sci-fi series Demimonde, which is intended for Warner Bros.’ streaming service HBO Max. As THR notes, “Abrams’ Bad Robot is eyeing a spend that’s north of $200 million. For comparison, the budget for HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon is less than $200 million.”
Little is known about Demimonde as it stands now. There was a single casting announcement—Danielle Deadwyler as the lead actress—but not much else. io9 reported in 2018 that Abrams was shopping the show around, and Apple was supposedly interested before the Bad Robot deal with Warner Bros. was made.“Bad Robot’s rich overall deal with Warner Bros. Discovery is currently not in jeopardy though the lack of output has created a larger discussion about what the newly merged company [Warner Bros. Discovery; the merger was finalized last month] expects to stem from the pact,” according to THR, which also notes “a decision on whether Demimonde will move forward is expected to come this week ... sources say studio Warner Bros. TV has reviewed eight of the 10 scripts for the drama that landed at HBO with a straight-to-series order.” io9 has reached out to HBO Max for comment and will update this post if and when we hear back.
Whatever this means, it’s clear that big outlets are interested in big names, and Abrams is, right now, one of the biggest. Genre film has, for better or for worse, invested in Abrams—and the fact is that Abrams is a busy man. From the Stephen King-inspired Overlook miniseries to Star Wars, the man has his mitts in almost every major contemporary franchise, including DC Comics’ Justice League Dark, Westworld, the new Superman movie, a new Star Trek movie, and even more—and obviously not all of those are Warner Bros. projects. In other words, Demimonde is just one item on Abrams’ giant to-do list. And speaking of DC, THR has this bit to share: “Sources suggest there is some frustration within the halls of Warner Bros. Discovery that Abrams has laid claim to a number of DC characters but has yet to get anything on the air,” including the previously teased Madame X series and a “dark reboot” of Constantine.
This article has been updated to correct a typo.
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