How Sony Won Quentin Tarantino’s Manson Film

Image credit: The Weinstein Company

Quentin Tarantino‘s increasingly buzzed-about 60s & 70s-set next film, that will also somehow include the Charles Manson murders, had Hollywood’s biggest studios in quite the competitive situation.

The epic downfall of big-time producer Harvey Weinstein (who’s backed every QT film since Reservoir Dogs) left Tarantino’s next project without a major studio, and that provided the filmmaker with the perfect opportunity to stir up a studio contest. Tarantino reportedly crafted a bidding war among the major studios, getting producers to travel to his agents’ offices to read the script (an early version of QT’s The Hateful Script was infamously leaked, leaving the filmmaker furious) before being given the opportunity to “present deal points to allow the studios to bid for the theatrical rights”.

Sony Pictures was the victor. THR reports that the studio…

… had to contend with Tarantino’s lofty demands, including, sources say, a $95 million production budget, final cut and “extraordinary creative controls,” plus a whopping 25  percent of first-dollar gross. Another demand was that the rights to the movie revert to him after 10 to 20 years.

Apparently “tough negotiations” went down between the two parties and Tarantino did not mange to get every request green lit, including a reported ‘no deal’ on that 25 percent cut. Also, the film will apparently have to make at least $US375 million worldwide to break even.

It will be interesting to know what those “extraordinary creative controls” are, considering Tarantino has long crafted movies his way.

Sony Pictures chief Tim Rothman sent staff an email congratulating them on the acquisition. An excerpt, via Deadline:

[Tarantino] remembers well the outstanding job the company did on Django, and was particularly impressed last week by the presentation of our marketing and distribution capabilities, both domestically and internationally. I’m grateful to all who worked to make this happen and confident that we will do a great job for him on this film and others to come.

Paramount and Warner Bros. were among the studios chasing after the picture, which is currently working under the title #9 (it’s Tarantino’s ninth feature). Warner Bros. reportedly transformed their lot and executive conference room to a 60s-style setting for their presentation.

Sony previously handled Django Unchained‘s international release to a healthy $US262  million box office outside of the States, in turn helping make the Spaghetti Western Tarantino’s highest-grossing picture to date.

As you’d expect, a number of big names have been circling Tarantino’s next one. Deadline is reporting that Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio are among the who’s who of A-listers that have talked to the filmmaker. Margot Robbie is said to have been offered the role of Sharon Tate, who was murdered by Manson.

Stay tuned.

Image credit: The Weinstein Company

Image credit: The Weinstein Company

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Guillermo, Founder and Manager of The Reel Word, lives and breathes all things screen and pop culture. He has over eight years' experience in the media landscape in a career that has encompassed television, radio, and the online space. When he's not working hard on The Reel Word, you can find him at a local Sydney cinema or catching up on his ever-growing list of must-watch TV shows.