Paramount Pictures is in a pay dispute with a powerful Hollywood couple over the studio’s broadcast plans for the new horror film A Quiet Place Part II, according to a person familiar with the matter, creating a behind-the-scenes drama that can affect the income from other big stars.
The couple, actor-director John Krasinski and his wife, A Quiet Place Part II movie actress Emily Blunt, have a contract that compensates them based on the movie’s box office.
But Paramount, owned by ViacomCBS, cut the film’s exclusive showing in theaters by half, from 90 days to 45 days, and scheduled the release for May 28, when some networks will continue to operate with limited capacity.
Paramount is accelerating the film’s online release to help its new streaming service, Paramount +. The stars fear that many potential theater fans may expect the film to be available for viewing at home, which would reduce box office revenue, said the person, who asked not to be identified for speaking of a private matter.
The original film, A Quiet Place, grossed $ 341 million (S $ 454 million) in ticket sales worldwide in 2018.
The closure of movie theaters in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic has led to a major rethinking of how movies are released, with movie networks now playing a minor role in how people view new ones. films.
But many Hollywood stars are paid in part based on box office income, so they can be hurt if movies spend less time on big screens.
Representatives for the couple, along with other producers who have a stake in the film’s box office, including filmmaker Michael Bay, requested compensation from Paramount, according to the person, and discussions are ongoing. But the study has rejected them so far.
Paramount declined to comment. Representatives for the film’s stars did not respond.
Quiet Place was Paramount’s second-largest film of 2018 and one of its most profitable, thanks to a modest budget of around $ 20 million.
The sequel was expected to be one of the studio’s biggest movies last year. Paramount made a striking debut on March 8 in New York, just days before the coronavirus closed cinemas around the world. The studio postponed the release three times.
As the pandemic progressed, Paramount sold many of its movies to streaming services, shipping Coming 2 America to Amazon and The Love Birds and The Trial Of The Chicago 7 to Netflix.
But he kept A Quiet Place Part II and Top Gun: Maverick, betting that these two films would bring in huge box office revenue when theaters reopened.
Still, as Paramount sold its titles to online stores, competing studios began experimenting with releasing motion pictures on their own streaming services.
Walt Disney released Mulan and Soul for home video, and AT & T’s WarnerMedia put Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max just in time for Christmas.
The decision to cut down on movie theaters or avoid them all together can be good news for consumers. But cutting theaters puts one of Hollywood’s best paydays at risk: a chunk of box office revenue.
Stars like Blunt, 38, and Krasinski, 41, can earn tens of millions of dollars on a hit movie like A Quiet Place. Krasinski is also the film’s writer and director.
Agents and filmmakers rebelled when Warner Bros. announced that it would release its full list of 2021 movies on HBO Max at the same time the movies were hitting theaters. But the opposition calmed down after the studio upfront compensated its film talent for lost revenue.
Netflix already uses this approach, as its movies generate the vast majority of their audience on its streaming service rather than in theaters. The company pays higher advances to talents to buy all of their rights.
ViacomCBS has no contractual obligation to pay extra money. But he has a vested interest in keeping his celebrities happy.
Krasinski is also the star of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, a hit Amazon show made by Paramount’s television studio.
And Paramount recently signed a deal to offer its films to the Epix cable network, including compensation for key players.
Patrick Whitesell, CEO of the giant talent agency Endeavor Group Holdings, is one of several executives who work on the team of actors.