Apple allegedly offered J.J. Abrams $500 million, but he declined

Tim Cook Apple TV+
Tim Cook Apple TV+ (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • J.J. Abrams was allegedly offered $500 million to exclusively create content for Apple.
  • Abrams ultimately turned Apple down in favor of WarnerMedia.
  • Abrams was apparently concerned by Apple's lack of IP and theatrical distribution model.

J.J. Abrams reportedly turned down $500 million to create content exclusively for Apple. Instead, Abrams signed a deal with WarnerMedia allegedly worth half that.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Apple wanted Bad Robot, a production company started by Abrams, to "set up shop" in Cupertino. But Apple wanted Abrams to create content exclusively for Apple, which means the director wouldn't be able to do anything else, including work on Star Wars or Star Trek.

Abrams' Bad Robot has been involved in some major hits, including Cloverfield and Overlord

That was allegedly a huge no-no for Abrams, who was also apparently concerned by Apple's lack of a theatrical distribution model. Apple also has on IP to offer, and its upcoming streaming service is unproven.

Abrams opted instead to sign a five-year pact with WarnerMedia worth an estimated $250 million with financial incentives. If Abrams comes up with a big hit, his payday could increase by the hundreds of millions. And it can apparently still sell projects to third-party outlets.

THR reports the deal with WarnerMedia will allow Abrams and Bad Robot to develop film, TV, video game and digital projects for Warner Bros., HBO, and HBO Max, the latter of which is a streaming service.

Warner Bros. has plenty of IP to offer Abrams, too, offering more opportunity for Bad Robot. Even with ample IP, Abrams will allegedly create original content for both film and TV as part of the deal.

Landing Abrams to an exclusive deal would have been huge for Apple. But in the end an agreement couldn't be made. For now, Abrams is producing a handful of shows for Apple TV+, including Lisey's Story based on a Stephen King novel.

Brandon Russell