After the success of Booksmart, studios were scrambling at a shot to land the new Olivia Wilde movie. So how did New Line win?
At one point, around 18 people were bidding on the next Olivia Wilde project. Now, the director has made a record-setting deal with New Line to make a movie called Don’t Worry, Darling. We don’t know much about the plot except that the drama thriller centers on a 1950s housewife who uncovers a disturbing truth to her perfect life.
Wilde will director and star, and will also produce with Katie Silberman, who wrote Booksmart.
Roy Lee and Miri Yoon of Vertigo Entertainment will also produce.
Catherine Hardwicke is the executive producer.
Silberman and Wilde will be rewriting the original script for Darling, whose original authors are Shane and Carey Van Dyke. Since Silberman is starting a rewrite right away, the original writers will be paid a “kill fee.”
What’s a kill fee?
A kill fee is a payment on a script made to the writer when their screenplay is “killed” or canceled, or when their guaranteed contract step, such as a rewrite or polish, is killed. In this case, the original writers probably had a rewrite step built into their contract, and now that Silberman is going to work on it, they’ll have to be paid a percentage of the total payment since that step will no longer commence.
This is where it gets really interesting…
The really fun part is when it comes to backend. The Hollywood Reporter says that “sources say that the filmmakers and producers stand to get 50 percent in the profit participation, which kicks in when the movie breaks even.”
That means after the movie breaks even, Wilde and her team will take 50 percent of the profits moving forward.
It looks like everyone is betting on a huge success. New Line likes to champion genre movies and new directors, so this fits directly into their plans.
These kinds of deals usually eliminate streamers, but Netflix apparently came in with a bid of twenty million dollars as an alternative to the back end offered. Wilde’s deal is one of the biggest ever in Hollywood history. The industry hasn’t seen one like it since director Todd Phillips’s deal for the first Hangover movie in 2009. Phillips was able to score a 30 percent backend deal, but only after Warner Bros. (New Line’s parent company) made budget cuts to the film to accommodate Phillps’ desire to cast then-non-marquee names as Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis.
While Wilde passed on Netflix’s offer, it’s interesting to see how they are willing to compete, since we know they don’t usually tell anyone the numbers behind how many people watch their shows and movies.