Though “Knives Out” would go on to have some awards recognition and become a sleep box office hit, during the marketing campaign for the Rian Johnson film, the classic whodunnit seemed like a fun little side-project for the cast and crew in between other, more lucrative jobs. I mean, the film had a modest $40 million budget and seemed to be filmed, edited, and released in quick succession as Daniel Craig had a small window before going into the filming of his final James Bond film. Yet, more than a year later, and it appears “Knives Out” could result in the biggest payday yet for some of the folks involved, including Craig and Johnson.
Recently, it was reported that Netflix bought the rights for the next two “Knives Out” features from Rian Johnson for the sum of $469 million. This deal sent shockwaves through the industry, as it’s one of the biggest streaming deals of all time. Nearly half-a-billion dollars for two Agatha Christie-esque, mid-budget mystery films? That’s ludicrous! Well, according to a new report from THR, the deal is likely going to be a steal for Netflix in the long run and one of the biggest paydays for Rian Johnson and Daniel Craig, with both reportedly earning nine figures after everything is all said and done.
The way the deal is supposed to shake out is pretty simple. Netflix gave Rian Johnson and his production company $469 million. In return, the streamer gains exclusive rights to the next two “Knives Out” films, and each is required to have a budget that is at least the same as the $40 million original. The final requirement is that Daniel Craig must star in both sequels. That’s it. So, why the massive payout? Well, Netflix sees this as an opportunity to snag a brand-new, ready-built franchise and also simultaneously stop a competitor from having the rights to the film series, also. Win-win.
That gives Rian Johnson complete control over the creative decisions of the films, and all he has to do is use at least $80 million to make films and make sure Craig is on camera. Sounds like a sweet deal, right? Well the THR report claims that Daniel Craig, Rian Johnson, and producing partner Ram Bergman could all walk away from the deal with $100 million each. Yes, that’s one-hundred-million dollars…each.
Obviously, we don’t know the specifics about when these sequels will arrive on Netflix, but it wouldn’t be all that shocking if they are released in a fairly speedy timeframe, considering the most recent report says production will begin in June.