The already tenuous connection between the Cloverfield movies (the Cloververse, if you will) looks set to stretch to breaking point as third installment Cloverfield Station or also known as God Particle trundles into view.
Paramount has announced that the flick, long in post-production, is finally set for an April 20 release date — but not in the expected venues. Apparently, the JJ Abrams-produced sci-fi sequel is set for release only on Netflix. The two companies are currently in talks to dump the flick on the streaming service, following increasing issues with the quality of the product.
Paramount chairman Jim Gianopulos is looking to move on from the movie, recouping whatever costs he can in the process, so the company can focus on movies with more feasible theatrical releases. Gianopulos took over in spring of last year, and he reportedly didn't pull any punches with inherited films he felt weren't up to snuff.
"He sat down and looked at what is theatrical, what is not in this day and age," said one source close to the situation.
Cloverfield Station or God Particle wrapped shooting back in 2016 and was initially slated for release in February of last year. It was then moved to fall 2017 before being pushed back indefinitely again. The general consensus seems to be that those in charge aren't happy with the finished product.
Apparently, Abrams was originally going to fiddle with the movie in post-production. However, after being drafted for Star Wars: Episode IX following Colin Trevorrow's departure, he was unable to commit to the project.
Netflix recently acquired Alex Garland's follow-up to Ex Machina, the Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac-starring sci-fi movie Annihilation, from Paramount. The streaming behemoth reportedly picked up the flick in all international territories from the studio.
Paramount has produced and released the two previous Cloverfield movies to massive worldwide success and profitability. 2008's Cloverfield, then a complete unknown and untested property, was made for a budget of $25 million and managed to gross $80 million domestically. Surprise sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane, which adapted a previously-written script to fit the by-then-established brand, was made for only $15 million and grossed $72 million domestically.
In contrast to this, Cloverfield Station/God Particle reportedly had a budget of $40 million, so clearly, there is push from somewhere to get it seen. The film also has some pretty big names attached, including David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Elizabeth Debicki, and Ziyi Zhang.
The premise revolves around astronauts in a space station and presumably, an extraterrestrial threat. This move away from the previously established low-budget model may be what ultimately sinks the film.
Abrams previously expressed his desire to continue on the Cloververse utilizing an anthology format, in which tangentially related stories could be told in a Twilight Zone-like manner.