Paramount Pictures is contemplating handing off God Particle – the troubled third film in the loosely-connected, J.J. Abrams-produced Cloverfield series – to Netflix, according to reports in The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.
It’s the latest set-back for the sci-fi film from director Julius Onah and Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions. It was shot over the summer of 2016 and originally slated for release in February 2017 (the same frame in which the second Cloverfield film, 10 Cloverfield Lane, was released the previous year). Paramount then postponed that release three times: to October 2017, then February 2018, and then again, earlier this month, to April 2018. (Reports about that date change also indicated that maybe it wouldn’t be called God Particle any more either. Who knows!) Throughout that period, no marketing materials were released for the film; all we knew was that it was set on a space station, and that its cast included David Oyelowo, Ziyi Zhang, Daniel Bruhl, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris O’Dowd, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
In the interim, Paramount had a very rough fall, with Sububicon, Downsizing, and mother! all failing to connect with viewers, (most) critics, or awards voters (it was the only major studio without a single Oscar nomination). THR reports that, following that ugly season, new studio chairman Jim Gianopulos is cleaning house. “He sat down and looked at what is theatrical, what is not in this day and age,” according to one of their sources. (A star-heavy sci-fi franchise movie would seem the very definition of “theatrical,” but hey, what do I know.)
They also sold Netflix the international rights to another sci-fi film, Alex Garland’s Annihilation (starring Natalie Portman), though they’ve retained rights to release that film in the U.S. The Netflix deal for God Particle would hand Netflix rights for all territories but China, which would mean a streaming release everywhere else, probably sometime this spring.