Why J.J. Abrams spurned a $500 million Apple TV+ deal

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Bad Robot
Not a lot of people have ever turned down as much money as J.J. Abrams just did.
Photo: Joi/Wikimedia Commons

Apple reportedly offered one of the world’s hottest directors half a billion dollars to produce shows exclusively for Apple TV+, but J.J. Abrams turned down the deal.

Instead, his Bad Robot production company signed with WarnerMedia for about half that amount.

Doesn’t want to be tied to Apple

Abrams made this decision because he wants to option to work for companies other than Apple, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the iPhone maker had invested $500 million in Bad Robot, the company could have only produced content for Apple TV+.

Abrams directed this winter’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and rebooted the Star Trek series. Projects like these apparently would not have been allowed under the agreement Apple wanted him to sign.

Also, the director/producer was supposedly concerned that Apple currently has no way to put movies in theaters. Plus, the company has no classics for Abrams to reboot.

Abrams still works with Apple TV+

Just because Apple doesn’t own a significant piece of Bad Robot doesn’t mean the two aren’t collaborating. There are no less than three shows coming to Apple TV+ from Abrams’ production company.

One of these is the reunion of Jennifer Garner with Abrams — the two haven’t worked together since Alias. Their upcoming show is called My Glory Was I Had Such Friends.

And Bad Robot will produce Lisey’s Story, an adaptation of Stephen King’s favorite horror novel.

And there’s Little Voice, a dramedy co-created with singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. It’s being described as a love letter to the diverse musicality of New York.