×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Quentin Tarantino Film Bidding Heats Up: Three Finalists Emerge (EXCLUSIVE)

Three Hollywood studios are engaging in a heated courtship of Quentin Tarantino as they work to out-charm each other for the rights to the “Pulp Fiction” director’s upcoming movie set against the backdrop of the Charles Manson murders.

Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. have emerged as the three finalists for the project, Variety has learned. It’s possible, of course, that a dark horse candidate could still emerge. Each of the three studios heard Tarantino’s pitch, with Warners engaging in some splashy wooing in hopes of landing the film. When Tarantino arrived at the studio’s Burbank lot, he found the circular entrance in front of the administration building adorned with cars from the late 1960s. The Warner Bros. logo circa 1969 was on the marquee outside the studio, and the executive conference room was outfitted with vintage furniture from the era and mock posters for the movie. Much of Tarantino’s film unfolds in August of 1969, a time when Manson’s commune of followers murdered actress Sharon Tate and four of her friends.

Not to be outdone, Sony cooked up a multimedia presentation discussing how it would handle the release of the film, as well highlighting what it saw as its competitive advantages. Studio chief Tom Rothman used his time in front of Tarantino to talk up Sony’s marketing team and to take the director through the efforts that the company has made in recent years to bolster its international distribution. He emphasized that Sony could help the film succeed at the domestic box office, as well as internationally. Rothman was flanked by the studio’s senior staff, including Columbia Pictures president Sanford Panitch.

Initially, any execs interested in winning the project for their studio had to make the trek to WME’s offices to read the script. Every major studio, with the exception of Disney, made the pilgrimage to the agency headquarters. To get a second meeting with the director, the studios had to agree to a number of terms: Tarantino wants a production budget of roughly $100 million. He is also expecting first-dollar gross, meaning he will get a cut of the pre-tax revenue taken in by the studio, as well as final cut on the film.

Spokespeople from all three studios declined to comment, as did a spokesperson from WME.

The financial terms scared away many suitors, leaving Warner Bros., Sony and Paramount as the final bidders. At stake is the chance to be in business with a proven hitmaker and an Oscar winner. Tarantino is one of the rare auteurs whose films are true “events.” He’s mixed critical acclaim with commercial success, scoring with the likes of “Django Unchained,” “Kill Bill,” and “Inglourious Basterds.” His most recent effort, “The Hateful Eight,” was something of a box office disappointment, earning $155.8 million on a budget of $55 million. It’s rare to see studios engage in such ardent ego stroking. Insiders say the only recent bit of flirtation that is on this level is the theatrics that companies engaged in as they tried to nab the distribution rights to the James Bond franchise. In that case, it is believed that newcomer Annapurna emerged victorious.

Tarantino’s still-untitled film was originally set up at the Weinstein Co., but the rights are up for grabs because the indie studio is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. The director has released nearly all of his films with Harvey Weinstein, but the mogul’s career has gone up in flames after dozens of women have accused him of sexual abuse and harassment.

More Film

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT Miramax has acquired film rights to Lauren Iungerich’s holiday-themed screenplay “I [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan arrives at the

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Warner Bros.' 'Methuselah' Movie

    Michael B. Jordan will produce and star in a “Methuselah” movie for Warner Bros., based on the Biblical story of a man who lived to be 969 years old. Jordan will produce through his Outlier Society production company along with Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. Warner Bros. has been developing the project for many [...]

  • Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping

    Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping Italy's Top Film Awards

    Piera Detassis recently became the first woman to head the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars. Since then she’s been busy overhauling the inner workings of the prizes that will be awarded on Wednesday. Detassis, also the editor of Italian film publication Ciak, spoke exclusively to Variety about the challenges she’s faced [...]

  • Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards

    Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards Race

    With 15 nominations Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” leads the pack of contenders for Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in a watershed year for the country’s top film nods that sees highbrow auteur titles reaping most of the David love just as local box-office grosses hit an all-time low. Garrone’s gritty revenge drama is followed closely with [...]

  • steven spielberg Apple TV Plus

    Steven Spielberg's Apple Appearance Riles Up Social Media: 'Big Old Mixed Message'

    Many Hollywood heavyweights flocked to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters to help reveal the tech giant’s revamped steaming service Apple TV+ on Monday — but one such legend was so polarizing he became a national trending topic on Twitter for simply showing his face. Steven Spielberg was the first to appear in a dramatic short film [...]

  • Michael Lynne

    Former New Line Co-Chairman Michael Lynne Dies at 77

    Michael Lynne, the former co-chairman of New Line Cinema who played a key role in shepherding “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, has died at his New York home. He was 77. Lynne’s death was confirmed Monday by longtime business partner Robert Shaye, who told Variety that Lynne’s family had informed him of Lynne’s passing [...]

  • Marisa Liston

    Sony Veteran Marisa Liston to Lead Lionsgate Movie Publicity

    Lionsgate has named Sony Pictures veteran executive Marisa Liston to lead all feature film and motion picture group publicity and communications strategy. Liston, who departed Sony in late 2018 after 17 years, has been assigned the newly created title of head of global earned media and communications. She will oversee domestic and international feature film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content