A lot of people have reason to be happy about the monstrous success of Jurassic World, and it appears that the film’s record-breaking box office may just be the boost needed to kick a developing sci-fi film called Passengers into production. Scripted by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus), Passengers has been in development for a long while, but it gained momentum earlier this year when Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence attached themselves to star with The Imitation Game director (and Oscar nominee) Morten Tyldum at the helm.
But Sony Pictures began sweating the film’s hefty price tag, which was a result of nabbing top-tier talent at the peak of their respective popularities. Lawrence was getting $20 million for the pic, Pratt at least $10 million, and Tyldum was set to receive a salary in the mid seven figures—and that’s before taking into account the film’s visual effects.
However, with Pratt now having starred in three ginormous blockbusters in a row—The LEGO Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, and now Jurassic World—THR reports that Sony is feeling more at ease about the pricey Passengers and the film has finally nabbed a greenlight. They’ve been waiting on the “go” for a while, with Pratt and Lawrence having carved out time in their (very busy) schedules to start filming early this fall, and now Sony is ready to pull the trigger.
Passengers is a love story that takes place in the future and is set on a spacecraft making the journey to a new, distant planet. There are thousands of people aboard in cryogenic sleep, but one (Pratt) wakes up 90 years early. Rather than stick it out and grow old alone, he opts to wake up a female passenger (Lawrence), sparking a relationship between the two.
The budget for Passengers is now at around $120 million, but with talent like this aboard and Jurassic World as “proof” of Pratt’s starpower it’s unlikely he’ll say “no” to Passengers. That’s a bet anyone would take, and a $120 million budget frankly seems quaint nowadays as blockbuster price tags are regularly swelling past $200 million.
[Update: THR now reports that Lawrence is getting $20 million against 30% of the profit and Pratt’s salary has been bumped up to $12 million. After Tyldum balked at trimming the budget to $90 million, Rothman reportedly told the team they could take the movie to another studio. But when the team was eyeing Jeff Robinov‘s Studio 8–which is partly owned by Sony but has outside financial backing–Rothman changed his mind and opted to give the greenlight through Sony. He is said to have enlisted Village Roadshow and LStar to cover as much as 75% of the budget.
Original sci-fi films are risky, especially in the wake of films like Tomorrowland and Jupiter Ascending, but with a hook described as “Gravity with romance” and stars like Pratt and Lawrence front and center, Passengers feels like a no-brainer.]