Famed director David Fincher is out of contention for Sony's Steve Jobs movie due to what the studio called his "ridiculous" demand for US$10 million up front. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony was tense about the fee and his demand of total control over marketing the movie.
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“You’re not doing Transformers here," an unnamed source "with ties to the studio" said. "You’re not doing Captain America. This is quality—it’s not screaming commerciality. He should be rewarded in success but not up front."
In other words, according to this source, the director isn't making a huge movie with massive special effects all but guaranteed to bring in a gillion dollars. As such, the studio would prefer to pay Mr. Fincher in points or some other formula directly tied to the success of the film.
In March, news broke that Mr. Fincher wanted the project, and that he was in negotiations with Sony. At that time, the focus was on his demand that Christian Bale play Steve Jobs for the project.
Sony's Steve Jobs movie is based on Walter Isaacson's biography titled Steve Jobs (Amazon link). The screenplay has been written by Aaron Sorkin, and if Mr. Fincher were to come on board, it would reunite the team behind the successful The Social Network, and that includes producer Scott Rudin.
That was a powerful combination, in that The Social Network raked in $225 million. That pales in comparison to, say, Transformers, but The Social Network cost just $40 million to make. Perhaps Mr. Fincher has let success go to his head, or perhaps he was unhappy with his total compensation for that or other recent movies.
Either way, reuniting that team would have added to the buzz about the movie, especially if Christian Bale signed on to play Steve Jobs. Mr. Bale is not yet attached to the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly for fans of Mr. Fincher, the sources quoted in the report said that this wasn't written in stone, and that Mr. Fincher could re-enter negotiations with Sony. Here's hoping that's the case.