J.J. Abrams' Star Wars Commitments Reportedly Hindered Involvement in 'Cloverfield Paradox'

The Cloverfield films have created one of the most perplexing franchises, as audiences have had to search for clues in their narrative that tie them together. Following 10 Cloverfield Lane, audiences expected nothing more from the franchise than J.J. Abrams helping oversee their quality, but the producer was reportedly too involved in the Star Wars franchise to have gotten involved with Cloverfield Paradox, potentially explaining the film's shortcomings.

Last month, a source shared with The Hollywood Reporter that Paramount Pictures chairman Jim Gianopulos culled the studio's slate of releases to discuss which films deserved theatrical releases and which could debut on alternative platforms. The source claimed, “He sat down and looked at what is theatrical, what is not in this day and age,” with red flags signaling that The Cloverfield Paradox didn't meet the cut.

The sources claim that Abrams "expressed an intent to get down to business in postproduction" while the film initially had an October 2017 release date. In September, Lucasfilm announced that Abrams would take over directing responsibilities for Episode IX, making an already busy schedule even tighter and preventing the filmmaker from getting involved with Cloverfield Paradox. The film was then pushed back to February, then pushed back to April, only for Netflix to drop it on their service following the Super Bowl.

Even Paradox's writer, Oren Uziel, revealed last year that having "Cloverfield" in a film's title assured audiences that it was somehow connected to Abrams' vision.

"Other than knowing what kind of quality and feel you’re gonna get from something that’s coming out of Bad Robot and J.J.," Uziel told Collider of the brand. "It just sort of helps to give an understanding of like, ‘Okay I understand what type of movie this is gonna be.’ As far as specifics, I don’t think there is one specific thread that makes it a Cloverfield movie, I guess.”

With 10 Cloverfield Lane and Paradox, Bad Robot had purchased scripts for "The Cellar" and "God Particle," respectively, with the studio making some tweaks for the standalone sci-fi films to fit the Cloverfield brand.

One signal that Paradox was veering off course of the original model was that the original film cost $25 million while the second cost even less. Paradox ended up costing over $40 million and featured an ensemble, recognizable cast.

Rather than potentially risking tarnishing the brand, it seems likely that Paramount and Bad Robot would rather deliver on the ground-breaking surprise release, even if the film's quality didn't meet their standards.


The Cloverfield Paradox is now streaming on Netflix.

[H/T The Hollywood Reporter]