Netflix spent over $50 million to acquire the rights to distribute The Cloverfield Paradox from Paramount, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film, which currently sits at 20% positive on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, is the streaming giant's second attempt at a blockbuster in recent weeks, the first being Bright, from Suicide Squad director David Ayer and star Will Smith.
Bright, too, took a critical drubbing, but audience metrics indicated that millions of viewers watched the dystopian fairy tale in its opening weekend.
While 10 Cloverfield Lane managed to complete production and be just weeks away from a theatrical release before audiences knew what hit them, The Cloverfield Paradox was less stealthy, lingering in post production for over a year.
They made up for that with a Super Bowl ad on Sunday that aired just hours before the film was made available on Netflix.
The Cloverfield Paradox had several production issues and was delayed, but was expected in theaters on April 20. Per THR's report, the plan to move it to a Netflix-first release was designed by executive producer J.J. Abrams, Paramount chairman-CEO Jim Gianopulos, Netflix chief Ted Sarandos and head of original films Scott Stuber, in what they describe as an attempt to "rescue" the film, which they were worried might underperform at the box office.
It is not yet clear what Bad Robot and Paramount paid to make The Cloverfield Paradox, but it was likely less than $50 million, and the deal with Netflix is likely a win for all involved.
It is difficult to judge what Netflix needs in order to consider a movie a success, but high-profile collaborators like Abrams and Ayer have motivated Netflix to shell out big bucks going all the way back to the early days of David Fincher's House of Cards.
The buzz a film like this generates -- especially with a Super Bowl spot behind it -- nearly pays for itself as far as Netflix is concerned, so as long as the movie is watched by anything close to the number of people who watched Bright (which cost about $90 million to produce), they should be content.
It also saves Paramount the frustration of what was shaping up to be a box office embarrassment, and the cost of marketing a movie for theatrical release.
eMarketer’s Paul Verna told THR that he believed Netflix was pleased with the “brand jolt.”
After the surprise release and warm reception of 10 Cloverfield Lane, the franchise -- which was a franchise only in the loosest possible sense, taking disconnected unproduced screenplays and applying a shared universe to them in order to build a brand -- was looking good. But after Paradox wrapped production in September of 2016, Paramount was worried that the film did not work.
They went into reshoots in order to firm up the Cloverfield mythology and give characters who were working extra screen time, but THR says the movie was eventually deemed "unsalvageable."
Paramount retains the rights to future Cloverfield installments.