EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that JJ Abrams and his Bad Robot production banner partnered with EVP Bryan Burk are one of, and perhaps the, most important relationships at Paramount. So this is no surprise. But betcha the terms were rich indeed to extend their first-look deal through the end of 2015. The deal dates back to 2006. Grosses on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol are now $670M globally while those for the Star Trek reboot hit $385M worldwide. Abrams is right now shooting the Star Trek sequel which he’s producing and directing. Under the Paramount deal, Abrams also has made Cloverfield (producing) and Super 8 (producing and directing), both of which did well at the global box office.
UPDATE: Here’s the official press release -
HOLLYWOOD, CA (February 22, 2012) – Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc., and Bad Robot Productions jointly today announced an extension of their exclusive, first-look agreement through December 2015.
The prolific production company, whose original first look deal with Paramount began in 2006, is currently shooting the next installment of the studio’s Star Trek franchise. Once again, Abrams is directing and Bad Robot is producing the tent-pole, which will be released in 3D on May 17, 2013.
“J.J. is a unique talent and a captivating storyteller,” said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. “J.J., Bryan Burk and the whole Bad Robot team are an integral part of Paramount and we’re proud to continue our collaboration. Their pictures have extraordinary resonance around the world and we’re so pleased Paramount will be their home for years to come.”
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Not only has the stunt-filled fourquel freshened the 15 1/2-year-old spy franchise, but saved Tom Cruise’s career from freefall and spurred Jeremy Renner into a higher profile worldwide. Paramount tells me that director Brad Bird’s first live-action film, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, has passed $200 million in North America and, combined with its strong performance internationally of $369M through Sunday, has outgrossed Mission: Impossible 2‘s $546.4M globally and now becomes the highest-grossing film in the franchise with $571M worldwide to date. Co-financed by Skydance Productions, M:I4 with its continuing story about IMF operative Ethan Hunt reclaimed the overseas #1 position this weekend from 7,837 locations across 63 markets. The largest of the latest five openings was China. The actioner was written by André Nemec and Josh Appelbaum, and produced by Cruise, J. J. Abrams (director of the third installment) and Bryan Burk, co-founder of Abrams banner Bad Robot Productions. M:I4 is the first Mission: Impossible movie to be partially filmed using IMAX cameras. The film opened exclusively in IMAX on December 16th, aided by a pairing with Warner Bros’ highly anticipated Batman threequel footage for The Dark Knight Rises, and everywhere on December 21st. “Brad Bird, Tom Cruise, J.J. Abrams and the entire team who worked on M:I4 created an incredibly entertaining film, one that fans worldwide embraced in record numbers,” Paramount’s Vice Chairman Rob Moore said in a statement from the studio.
EXCLUSIVE: I hear that, after a hot pursuit by all the major Hollywood agencies, formerly rep-less Brad Bird has signed with UTA’s Tracey Jacobs and David Kramer. The writer-director is currently prepping to helm Paramount’s Mission: Impossible IV for producer J.J. Abrams, with Tom Cruise starring. But Deadline has reported previously that Paramount is currently rethinking MI4. I hear the script that came in is very good, but the studio is still trying to figure out the budget as well as Cruise’s role in light of the lackluster Knight And Day grosses. There’s talk that Tom’s character will mentor a young operative this time out if the pic proceeds. I just hope Bird is pay or play.
He’s also attached to direct 1906 for Warner Bros. Bird won two Academy Awards for directing the Pixar hits The Incredibles and Ratatouille. Bird’s first major animated feature came with Warner Bros’ The Iron Giant. In addition to working at Pixar, Bird has also had a prolific television career on such shows as The Simpsons, King Of The Hill, and The Critic. Bird will continue to be represented by attorney Jake Bloom.
While 20th Century Fox is the studio sweating it out hoping Knight and Day overcomes lackluster tracking to turn in respectable 5-day opening numbers, Paramount brass is paying close attention. That’s because the studio just received the screenplay for the new Mission: Impossible 4 penned by Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec. I’ve learned that Brad Grey and Rob Moore are reading the script over the next few days and figuring out the preliminary budget next week on the Brad Bird-directed fourquel. Cruise reprises his Ethan Hunt role and produces with MI3 director JJ Abrams. But what effect if any will Knight and Day’s box office have on the new pic? Paramount insiders tell me no decisions have been made yet. But Hollywood has been buzzing that the studio might kill MI4 if Knight doesn’t connect with audiences despite Cruise’s action hero character.
What are Paramount’s choices? The studio could choose not to accept the mission, but that seems next to impossible after all the development that’s already gone into this still viable franchise. Especially after Paramount repaired its fractured relationship with Tom around this film and just committed to a film with his Les Grossman character. Plus, Cruise made what I hear is a reasonable deal to get the film off the ground, and there is a risk-sharing partner in exec producer David Ellison and his Skydance banner. More importantly, MI4 is a … Read More »