You can set aside those hints that Baz Luhrmann might be retiring. The “Elvis” director is back in business with Warner Bros. Pictures and has signed a first look deal with the studio after the box office and awards success of his musical biopic on The King.
Luhrmann’s “Elvis” scored eight Oscar nominations this week, including Best Picture, and the film is a box office hit and among the highest grossing of this year’s crop of Best Picture nominees, having made $287.3 million worldwide. It will return to theaters this weekend for a limited run on the wake of its Oscars buzz.
Under the deal, which was made by Warner Bros. Pictures heads Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, Luhrmann will be able to direct and develop original feature material but will also be able to direct outside projects.
It’s a big get for Warner Bros. getting to keep Luhrmann in the director’s chair, especially considering that, all told, he has only made six features in his career that dates back to the ’90s.
“Baz Luhrmann is one of the most singular filmmakers in modern cinema, and we couldn’t be more excited to announce that Warner Bros. is continuing our association with him,” said De Luca and Abdy in a statement. “The massive success of ‘Elvis,’ which helped drive audiences of all ages and a whole new generation back to theaters, proves Baz remains ahead of the curve and at the forefront of the pop culture zeitgeist. He not only continues to evolve the film medium, but he also creates a big screen experience that is truly like no other. He is a one-of-a-kind artist who has established his own cinematic language inherent in every project he takes on, extending to the music he infuses into his work, and we not only congratulate him on this week’s eight Oscar nominations, but also look forward to our future endeavors together on the big screen.”
Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection
Luhrmann previously worked with Warner Bros. on “The Great Gatsby” starring Leonardo DiCaprio in 2013. That film made $353.6 million worldwide.
Luhrmann has also hinted that he wants to release a “director’s assembly” of “Elvis” that features Austin Butler’s full musical performances, which would be different from the original four-hour cut of “Elvis” that he suggested at one point included Elvis Presley’s visit with Richard Nixon.
“There’s a whole lot of material that adds up to four hours, but I have gone on record now to say not today, not tomorrow, but at some point I would do [it],” Luhrmann said. “Because Austin did his concerts full out. He did all the numbers. Austin just did it and it was an out of body experience to watch him do those full concerts, so one day I will cut those full concerts together.”
Lurhmann is represented by Robert Newman at WME and Bob Wallerstein at Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof + Fishman LLP.
Deadline first reported the news.
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