A new report shows Netflix may have paid at least $US50 million ($64 million) to secure the rights to The Cloverfield Paradox, a move that reportedly kept Paramount happy and managed to rescue a film that was in danger of collapsing at the box office.
Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Paramount grew increasingly anxious about the latest instalment in the Cloverfield series. The Cloverfield Paradox, previously known only as God Particle, was reportedly deemed "unsalvageable" even after attempts were made to fix some of the confusing character moments and tie the film to the Cloverfield universe. It was set to come out April 20, after several months of delays, and Paramount was getting worried.
Over the holidays, producer J.J. Abrams, along with leads from Paramount and Netflix, made a plan to do a surprise release on Netflix after the Super Bowl in order to drum up hype for a movie that they (rightfully) worried would not be well received. THR's report says Netflix paid at least $US50 million ($64 million) for the film, with Paramount keeping rights for home release and distribution in China, as well as the rights for future Cloverfield content. THR notes:
It makes the movie instantly profitable for the studio, which avoids a (likely) misfire and costly marketing campaign. And Netflix got what it was looking for, regardless of withering reviews (18 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes at press time): buzz.
Netflix has been eager to spend big bucks for buzz-worthy and high-profile content, even though there's no way to tell whether they're actually getting their money's worth. Last year CEO Reed Hastings said they were committed to spending $US15.7 billion ($20 billion) in content deals over the next few years.
The streaming service reportedly spent about $US100 million ($128 million) for the Will Smith Orc Cop movie Bright - which netted a lot of viewers, garnering plans for a sequel. Whether it grew the platform's subscriber base enough to justify the expense in the long run remains to be seen.