In 2019, J.J. Abrams signed an overall deal with HBO Max that cost the streaming service $250 million. Since then, Abrams’ Bad Robot has yet to actually produce anything under the said deal, which is leading Warner Bros. Discovery to question what the holdup is.
Ever since Discovery completed its acquisition of WarnerMedia from AT&T in April, WBD CEO David Zaslav has been going over projects in various stages of development to try and determine whether or not they are worth continuing. One project that has already received the axe is the recently announced Wonder Twins film. The project was originally announced in February, then the project cast its leads in April, only for the film to be halted in early May. Unfortunately, Wonder Twins looks to be only the start of Zaslav’s changes. It’s expected that the newly merged studio will continue to crack down on projects in development – potentially even those being developed through Abrams’ overall deal.
One of many projects announced as part of Abrams’ overall deal was Demimonde, a science fiction drama set to star Watchmen alum Danielle Deadwyler. The project was expected to consist of 10 episodes, but it might now be on the bubble with Bad Robot reportedly eyeing a budget north of $200 million for the series. As if that isn’t bad enough, Abrams is also developing HBO Max’s DC Comics-based Justice League Dark franchise, which will include shows like Constantine and Madame X. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it is possible to even those projects could come under scrutiny from Zaslav.
Part of the frustration is said to be that Abrams has “laid claim” to numerous DC characters but has yet to see a project through to fruition. While Warners has seen scripts for Constantine and the pilot of Madame X, the lack of movement could result in action from Zaslav as the streaming service is said to be dealing with a pipeline issue. As it stands, there is reportedly no delivery plan for any of the projects being developed under Abrams’ Bad Robot banner.
It is of note that, along with producing a new Star Trek movie for Paramount, Abrams was just announced to be producing a Speed Racer series for Apple TV+ through his Bad Robot banner. That project is actually being produced as part of his overall deal with Warner Bros. Television, which is also producing the project.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter