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‘Knives Out’ sequel: Behind the scenes of Netflix’s $ 469 million power play

11:56 AM PDT 4/6/2021


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Sources say Rian Johnson, Ram Bergman and Daniel Craig are standing to walk away with more than $ 100 million each.

Last year it looked like an open and closed case.

In February 2020, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said during the quarterly earnings call that the company was formally moving forward in a sequel to: Knife outThe surprise box office and big hit starring Daniel Craig and written and directed by Rian Johnson.

But on March 31

, in a change worthy of Agatha Christie, it was revealed that Lionsgate will not release a sequel at all, Netflix will create a two-part sequel, which strikes a $ 469 million Dagger deal. With Johnson and his manufacturing partner at T-Street, Ram Bergman, both of whom represent CAA.

The deal is noteworthy: the deal provides Johnson’s immense constructive control, the source said. Hollywood ReporterHe doesn’t have to take notes from the streamer. The only obligation is that Craig has to star in the sequels, and each requires at least $ 40 million in budget for the 2019 film, sources say Johnson, Bergman and Craig insist on walking away with more money. $ 100 million per person

The other company that missed out on the sequel was MRC, the Beverly Hills-based production company that funded the first movie. THR Through a joint venture with Penske Media titled PMRC), the source said MRC had a film deal with Johnson and Bergman, the filmmaker and producer known for the popular thriller. And have a modest budget brick and Looper Before they do Star Wars: The Last JediAn MRC representative said the company was “proud” to partner with Johnson and Bergman for the first time. Knife out And noted that the pair had always been “in control” of the franchise (MRC was a minority investor in T-Street, but would not share the fortune of the new deal due to its stake in the franchise). Manufacturing company takes place after Knife out Was created as not part of that movie.)

Sources note that Lionsgate has a solid deal in which the company has first negotiation and final rejection rights as part of the negotiating security network that companies typically defend against. The project was lost (Lionsgate and CAA declined to comment) and Johnson and Bergman are considered supporters of the theatrical experience.

But before the outbreak, theatricals caught the spotlight and the backends didn’t exist. In January, with a full-fledged epidemic and the start of a much-anticipated summer sequel, Johnson and Bergman questioned the short-term possibilities of a CAA start to buy. A deal and streamer like Netflix leapt hard, MRC and Lionsgate, who at the time might normally get the project, couldn’t compete. “It turned out to be a perfect storm,” said one insider. Raised one year ago “

For Netflix, despite the price tag But an agreement has meaning on many levels. The streamer immediately got a proven franchise with a sequel to the movie grossing $ 311 million worldwide. And it can weaken theatrical competitors

“Yeah, it’s overpaying, but Netflix is ​​playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers,” said one streaming executive familiar with the deal. Keep it in their bag And it’s just another way that they re-educate their viewers to think of their streaming and company above the studio. ”

For everyone else, the deal shows how to take advantage of the talent they are looking for now with the competition from the streamer. “If you have talent now and you want to bet for yourself, it is. A good time. “

This story appears in the April 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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