At the end of March, Rian Johnson and Netflix revealed that a theatrical Knives Out sequel would not be moving head at Lionsgate as previously announced, but instead, the streaming service would now be releasing two sequels from the whodunnit film series starring Daniel Craig. At the time, early reports had the deal somewhere in the $400 to $450 million range, which to date, is one of the highest streaming deals in film history. It was also a staggering number considering the first Knives Out film only had a budget of $40 million.
However, new details about the massive negotiations have emerged, and it appears that the sequels will have similar budgets (aside from the bigger salaries). As for the rest of the multi-million dollar deal, a sizable chunk will go to Johnson, Craig, and producer Ram Bergman. Via The Hollywood Reporter:
Deal points were noteworthy: The pact gave Johnson immense creative control, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. He doesn’t have to take notes from the streamer. The only contingencies were that Craig must star in the sequels and that each must have at least the budget of the 2019 movie, which was in the $40 million range. Sources say that Johnson, Bergman and Craig stand to walk away with upwards of $100 million each.
As for why Netflix is ponying up almost half a billion dollars at a time when the theater industry is close to roaring back to life after the pandemic, here’s what a streaming exec told THR. “It takes a proven theatrical commodity off the board and puts it in their pocket. And it’s another way they re-educate audiences to think of streaming and their company above a studio.”
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)