Hollywood’s two hottest stars are teaming for a new movie set in outer space — but only after quite a bit of behind-the-scenes drama could have taken it out of Sony’s orbit.
Sony Pictures’ new motion picture chairman Tom Rothman has greenlighted Passengers, a big-budget romantic sci-fi drama starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt with Oscar nominee Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) set to direct. And thanks to a deal that tied his remuneration to the success of Jurassic World, which broke box-office records with a $524.1 million global opening over the June 12 weekend, Pratt’s fee has jumped from $10 million to $12 million.
Lawrence, an Oscar winner and considered a top star, is getting an exceptional $20 million against 30 percent of the profit after the movie breaks even, say sources. Sony declined to comment.
Whatever the famously fiscally prudent Rothman’s misgivings might have been about paying such big bucks to talent or risking $150 million ($120 million with production incentives) on an original script that has floated around Hollywood for years, he now finds himself in possession of a two-hander star vehicle with the most in-demand male and female actors in the business.
Passengers is set to begin filming in July so Sony has been under pressure to act. Sources say Rothman wrestled with whether to greenlight it, put it in turnaround or place it with Jeff Robinov’s nascent Studio 8, which is partly owned by Sony and will distribute its films through the studio but has outside financial backing.