Back in 2019, Warner Bros. signed filmmaker J.J. Abrams to a massive overall deal reportedly worth $250 million. Unfortunately, that deal hasn't delivered anything in the way of new shows or movies. Abrams' DC projects have been shelved, his high profile series Demimonde was axed before it could actually get made, and reports earlier this year indicated that executives were frustrated with the lack of production since the deal was signed. Fortunately for both Abrams and Warner Bros. Discovery, there are still titles in the works that could start to turn things around.
Sarah Aubrey, HBO Max's head of originals, recently spoke to Variety about the future of the streaming service, and was asked about the massive Abrams deal. According to Aubrey, Abrams has a new series called Duster on the way, and that the creator still has bright days ahead at the streamer.
"We have the TV series Duster, that's on the runway with him and that is going to be – knock wood – up and running very soon. I'm very bullish about that, and it's one that JJ has been intimately involved with and that's a really fun process to be a part of. People want to grab onto stories, and development comes together and doesn't come together all the time. That's actually a very normal part of our jobs, and more often than not, it doesn't, honestly. So I think to draw a circle around one or two shows and make an overall judgment is a little inaccurate. I'm very excited about the work that we have at Max with J.J."
Abrams may also get another chance at various DC projects in the future, as the comic brand has become its own creative studio with new leadership. James Gunn and Peter Safran are leading the way on that front.
As far as these major overall deals go, Aubrey revealed that the safest bet is with creators who already have things running at the company.
"Where we've seen the most success is a deal that's made around a show that's already on deck or up and running, rather than deals that are kind of speculative. Someone doesn't have to have three series with us to want to make a deal – but it is challenging when you have the pressure of a big, expensive overall deal, and sometimes those only last a couple of years. If you don't have something that the company is galvanized around to make, it can feel like you don't get enough out of those deals."1comments