J.J. Abrams' HBO Series Demimonde Might Be In Trouble

Not all is well within the halls of Bad Robot, the production company headed up by mega-producer and blockbuster director J.J. Abrams. The filmmaker and his company signed a gigantic overall deal with Warner Bros. back in September of 2019 but it has not produced all that much content for HBO, HBO Max, or the movie studio up to this point. Now, under the new leadership at Warner Bros. Discovery, Abrams' sci-fi series "Demimonde" may be in trouble — and it seemingly comes down to a big budget issue.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is frustrated by Bad Robot's lack of output since signing the deal and now, everything is being put under a microscope. That includes "Demimonde," which has been in the works since 2018 and had previously been given a straight-to-series order, with Danielle Deadwylder ("Watchmen") set to star. The problem? Abrams, who is set to write the show and direct the pilot, is looking to spend north of $200 million on the show, which would eclipse what was spent on the upcoming "Game of Thrones" prequel, "House of the Dragon."

With that being the case, the project is being looked at with intense scrutiny and there is a chance it could be scrapped altogether. A decision is expected to be made within the week. This comes as Zaslav, in the wake of the merger between Discovery and Warner Bros., is looking to cut $3 billion from the company's budget.

Reassessing J.J. Abrams' value

As mentioned, after shopping around town, Abrams agreed to sign a gigantic $250 million deal with then-WarnerMedia (now Warner Bros. Discovery) that runs through 2024. It is all-encompassing and the idea is that Abrams, the director of movies such as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and the creator of shows like "Alias," would be a huge asset to the company moving forward. While this report states that the deal is not in jeopardy, Zaslav and the new brass at the company are taking a good hard look at the deal, and some changes may be coming.

The fact of the matter is that Bad Robot hasn't contributed much since that deal was signed. Sure, there was "Lovecraft Country," but that only lasted a single season. There are also multiple projects in the works from Abrams, including "Batman: Caped Crusader" and "Subject to Change," as well as several "Justice League Dark" shows, including a new take on "Constantine." However, very little has come to fruition and that has led to increased frustration within the company. Understandably so. The report even notes that Abrams laying claim to some of these DC characters and having done nothing with them yet is causing some tension.

The point is, as the media landscape continues to shift, that deal Abrams signed two and a half years ago suddenly looks a whole lot different. It may be time to reassess what Abrams and Bad Robot are bringing to the table, and make adjustments to squeeze more value out of that deal.