Sony Pictures has emerged victorious in its quest to land worldwide rights to Quentin Tarantino’s next film. The studio was one of three finalists for distribution rights to the picture, beating out Warner Bros. and Paramount to land one of the hottest titles on the market.
Studio chief Tom Rothman pushed aggressively for the project, working with his top deputy Sanford Panitch and marketing and distribution chief Josh Greenstein to court the “Pulp Fiction” director, and selling Tarantino on the studio’s ability to market the picture and roll it out internationally.
Tarantino drove a hard bargain, however, and some studios balked at his deal terms. The picture, set in 1969, involves the Charles Manson family murders. It is rumored to have a budget of nearly $100 million and Tarantino is demanding first dollar gross, meaning he gets a taste of the studio’s pre-tax revenues. He also receives final cut. That scared off some suitors (one studio executive said, after crunching the numbers, it seemed too difficult to make money on the deal). Other studios were skittish about the controversial subject matter.
Tarantino’s last film, “The Hateful Eight,” was a box office disappointment, earning $155.8 million globally on a $44 million budget. He did score with the likes of “Inglourious Basterds” and “Django Unchained,” which made $321.5 million and $425.4 million, respectively, and attracted serious awards attention.
Tarantino’s career has been closely aligned with that of Harvey Weinstein. He released all his films through Weinstein’s companies. However, the sexual abuse and assault scandal that engulfed Weinstein and pushed the Weinstein Company to the brink of bankruptcy has also forced the director to find a new perch. Over the past two months, dozens of women have come forward alleging that Weinstein harassed or assaulted them. In an October interview with the New York Times, Tarantino said he regretted working with Weinstein and said, “I knew enough to do more than I did.” The director previously dated Mira Sorvino, who is among Weinstein’s accusers.
WME handled the negotiations for rights to the film. Deadline first reported that a pact had been reached.