Netflix is in talks to acquire God Particle from Paramount, the studio that made the latest thriller from J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield movie series.
Sources say it is unclear if a deal will be made, but if the ink does dry, it will come on the heels of Paramount’s December deal with Netflix in which it unloaded the new Alex Garland-directed movie, Annihilation, on the digital streamer, which picked up all international territories except domestic from the studio. Paramount was set to release God Particle on April 20.
The culling of Paramount’s release slate is being spearheaded by chairman Jim Gianopulos, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. The exec took over the reins last spring, watching the movies he had inherited and making some hard choices.
“He sat down and looked at what is theatrical, what is not in this day and age,” says one source. Certain movies were not making the cut.
Paramount has produced and released two Cloverfield films to great profitability. The pics took unique perspectives on what were traditionally big-budget movies. Cloverfield, released in 2008 and directed by Matt Reeves, was a found-footage monster movie made for $25 million that grossed $80 domestically. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) was a contained alien invasion movie that cost even less and made $72 million domestically.
However, God Particle, which was also known as Cloverfield Station, seemed to eschew the model from the get-go. Its budget was in the $40 million-plus range, and its cast was more established, boasting David Oyelowo, Ziyi Zhang, Daniel Bruhl, Elizabeth Debicki and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
Sources say the movie needed some work, and while Abrams expressed an intent to get down to business in postproduction, it was too little, too late. Several sources suggested that Abrams’ attention may be taken up by his unexpected new assignment, the final installment of the Star Wars Skywalker episodes, which he signed on to in September after the firing of director Colin Trevorrow.
Paramount had no comment. Calls to Abrams' reps were unreturned at press time.