THR reveals that Jennifer Lawrence is set to earn a $20 million payday for the long developing sci-fi tale “Passengers.” However, this is causing some consternation for Sony‘s new budget conscious head, Tom Rothman. Combined with $3 million being paid to “The Imitation Game” director Morten Tyldum, another $10 million to Chris Pratt (who could angle for more if “Jurassic World” does well), but costs associated with previous iterations, the price tag before even a single frame of the movie has been shot is $40 million. The goal for the final budget is $80 million (though it could go as high as $95 million), which means Lawrence’s payday will be a quarter of the budget if that lower figure sticks. Welcome to Hollywood, folks.
Obviously, Rothman is trying get a lot of those numbers down and reduce the size of backend deals, but the word is that Lawrence — who is banking $15 million for David O. Russell‘s “Joy” — and her team are holding firm. But this is a big spend on something that’s not a branded, blockbuster property particularly in a time when every studio is trying to pump out franchises and sequels. The Jon Spaihts (“Prometheus“) penned movie takes place on an interstellar voyage to a distant planet. However, one passenger wakes up from cryogenic sleep 90 years early and makes the decision to awaken a female passenger, leading to a romance. So, probably not many explosions.
Rothman could theoretically kibosh the project, but no one is expecting him to do that. But it’s still an interesting window into the ways of Hollywood where accounting is also an expensive special effect.