Following the recent news that Apple has partnered with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio to finance their upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon adaptation, The Hollywood Reporter brings word that it was script changes that ultimately led Paramount Pictures to pull back their investment in the film.
While Apple covers the large budget, Paramount will still distribute the film in theaters worldwide before the movie lands on Apple TV+. The studio will avoid financial risk but faces “very limited upside.”
Paramount reportedly pulled back their funding for the film when Scorsese and DiCaprio revised the script and altered the star’s role. DiCaprio was originally supposed to be playing the good guy working for the developing FBI, but in the revised version, he would portray Robert De Niro’s nephew, torn between love and evil machinations of his uncle.
The outlet reports that a source shared Paramount felt the changes in the script made the film a “moody and less commercial character study,” calling it a “smaller scale; same budget” project.
Paramount was likely hoping they could convince the director and actor to revert back to their original script when they suggested to DiCaprio’s manager Rick Yorn to shop the project, but not only is Apple now covering the entire budget, they will also be the “creative studio” on the film.
Paramount will apparently pay marketing costs, though Apple will get its money back either from its share of the box office or “by making up any shortfall;” Apple will also cover costs associated with developing the project. In turn, Paramount will receive a distribution fee based on the film’s box office performance.
Killers of the Flower Moon, written by Eric Roth (A Star is Born), is produced by Imperative Entertainment, who acquired the rights for the novel for $5 million, as well as Scorcese, Appian Way Productions and Sikelia Productions. It will be starring Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio with fellow Scorsese alum Robert De Niro.
Killers of the Flower Moon will mark DiCaprio and Scorcese’s seventh collaboration together after working on multiple Oscar-nominated and winning films beginning with 2002’s Gangs of New York followed by 2004’s The Aviator, which was the actor’s first Oscar-nominated performance with the director, 2006’s The Departed, 2010’s Shutter Island, 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street and the 2015 short film The Audition.
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