Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up,” directed by Adam McKay, will have to be a big, big hit to break even.
In the new Vanity Fair cover story about Jennifer Lawrence, writer Karen Valby reveals that Leonardo DiCaprio was paid $30 million to play an astronomer scientist. Lawrence was paid $25 million. That’s $55 million. (Guess who’s paying for that, Netflix subscribers?)
We can infer from this information that “Don’t Look Up” cost twice that number, at least $110 million. That’s a huge leap for a modest comedy that won’t really even play in theaters. Netflix is gambling on home viewers watching this thing as if it’s “The Crown” or “Squid Game.” I’m not sure that’s going to happen.
We can’t review “Don’t Look Up” yet but it’s not “Dr. Strangelove” or even “Wag the Dog.” The latter also had big stars DeNiro Pacino, Hoffman, plus Woody Harrelson. It had modest returns.
“Don’t Look Up” has a big cast following DiCaprio and Lawrence, starting with Meryl Streep (three Oscars, Queen of all Hollywood), Cate Blanchett (two time Oscar winner), Jonah Hill (very popular), Mark Rylance (Oscar winner) and plenty of others. So $110 million might be a low number. And when those others read all this, they’ll be calling their agents.
Meantime, Vanity Fair has a winner in the Jennifer Lawrence cover. It’s their Hail Mary shot after a desultory year of covers that included some strange choices like Puff Daddy for the September issue. (What the heck was that about?) The magazine’s online traffic has plummeted, and none of their covers this year was a hit. At least this end of the year double issue has a chance. But wow, Vanity Fair’s whole gestalt has been whittled down to who to keep out of their parties.