George Clooney talks about his new movie from Apple co-starring Brad Pitt, revealing the two stars took pay cuts to get the film into theaters.
George Clooney and Brad Pitt have taken pay cuts in order to get their next film into theaters, as a part of their deal with Apple. Clooney's most recent film The Tender Bar was released on Amazon on January 7 and has received some award buzz for Ben Affleck's performance, having already netted him nods from the Golden Globes and the Screen Actor's Guild. Pitt is currently working on Blonde, the adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' opus novel about the life of Marilyn Monroe.
Little is known about the film the two are set to collaborate on, with no title or budget currently announced. However, the premise of the thriller-drama is set to be based on two lone wolf fixers assigned to the same job. Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts is set to helm the film in a return to his thriller roots, with his indie hit Cop Car paving the way for his career at Marvel. No casting or production start dates have yet been announced.
In an interview with Deadline, Clooney talked about the deal made with Apple to secure the film's theatrical release. The actor explained how a bidding war for the star-studded film took place early on, with Apple making a generous offer to the two stars. However, Clooney went on to say that both he and Pitt took lower paydays during negotiations, in exchange for a more robust theatrical release for the film. Read Clooney's quote below:
“It was an exciting time because it got to be one of those weird bidding wars which happen every once in a while, and it ended up being pretty extreme, and Apple came in with a really big number for Brad and I, and we said we’d like to take less as long as we can guarantee that we can have a theatrical release, and they said great. So, I do think that there’s a way that we can all co-exist."
Clooney's comments came in the context of his wider discussion about the difficulty of securing theatrical releases for films lately, given the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on movie theaters. The Hollywood veteran rightly points out that only major blockbusters, such as Watts' recent mega-hit Spider-Man: No Way Home, are guaranteed success at the box office these days. He also discussed how streaming is picking up the slack during the pandemic, with his film The Tender Bar becoming a hit on Prime while being generally overlooked in theaters.
It's true that studios are becoming more risk-averse for films getting theatrical releases, with big-budget superhero and action movies being the few to find success in the post-pandemic world (Clooney's distance from the genre is understandable given his mixed feelings about his Batman role). Though streaming has helped with smaller films finding audiences, the current climate has made it impossible for things to go both ways, where low-budget, small-scale films could find success in theaters and through streaming. Whatever George Clooney and Brad Pitt create with Watts, it will absolutely be best enjoyed on the biggest screen available, so fans can only hope the stars' sacrifice paid off.