Nancy Meyers scammed Netflix into spending $130 million on a rom-com

Michael Fassbender hasn’t acted in years, not since X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which was released in 2019. Before that, he was the lead in 2017’s The Snowman (awful movie). He’s semi-retired and he spends most of his time with his wife Alicia Vikander and their son, plus he races too. Well, Fassbender might be coming back to acting… and he’ll do it in a Nancy Meyers rom-com? That’s not even the weirdest part of the story though. The weirdest part is that Nancy Meyers somehow convinced Netflix that she needed $130 million to make a romantic comedy set in Los Angeles. This is bonkers from start to finish.

Nancy Meyers’ return to the director’s chair is getting underway. After not directing a movie since 2015’s The Intern, the filmmaker known for her upscale romantic comedies is back with a project that is attracting A-list talent. Scarlett Johansson is circling the lead role in Meyers’ upcoming feature for Netflix, multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, with Penélope Cruz, Owen Wilson and Michael Fassbender also eying the project. Netflix had no comment.

Meyers will write, direct and produce the comedy, which is currently known as Paris Paramount, although it is not clear if that’s the actual title, a working title or a code name.

Sources say the story centers on a talented young writer-director who falls in love with a producer, with the pair making several successful films before calling it quits romantically and professionally. The two are forced back together, however, when a great new project arises, and they find themselves teamed up again and having to deal with high stakes and volatile stars.

The project is currently eying a budget in the $130 million to $150 million range — meaning it could be the most expensive romantic comedy to come out of Hollywood — with the studio and filmmakers going back and forth over costs, as first reported by Puck. It has been in the works for some time, with the studio first announcing the feature in April of last year. A previous incarnation circling late last year had Jennifer Lawrence eyed for the lead before the Oscar winner fell out for unspecified reasons.

Romantic comedies have long been the realm of the midbudget, but Meyers has commanded prices on the higher end for the genre. Her productions have earned a lofty place in the rom-com annals, with Architectural Digest-worthy production design and call sheets featuring massive stars a la Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

[From THR]

Yeah, the only reason why a romantic comedy would need a $130 million budget is if that figure included everybody’s $20 million paycheck, because what the hell? Maybe she’s intending to shoot in far-flung locations – Paris, Tahiti, Cairo, Bangkok? I would love to see Nancy Meyers design a Moroccan-style kitchen on a Marrakech set. No, but seriously – Netflix is overpaying for films which should be mid-budget. Like, I loved Glass Onion, but Netflix had no business spending $450 million just for the RIGHTS to two Knives Out sequels.

Also: from the sound of it, I would assume that ScarJo and Owen Wilson would be the leads and Cruz and Fassbender are the “volatile stars” of the film-within-the-film.

Photos courtesy of AvalonRed.

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39 Responses to “Nancy Meyers scammed Netflix into spending $130 million on a rom-com”

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  1. Sue E Generis says:

    I enjoy the aesthetics of her physical environments, but I’m kind of over her aggressively white world. Also, $130M for a rom-com makes absolutely no sense. Every time Hollywood has gone nuts on spending and includes too many big names, the movie is always a flop, Not sure why they haven’t figured that out yet.

    Honestly, Nancy Myers’ movies really aren’t very good. The appeal is all in the lifestyle eye candy.

    • Lala11_7 says:


    • Yay says:

      Yes. The fact that people of color have only ever been in NM’s films as ‘the help,’ is deeply problematic. Here’s hoping there will be some course correction going forward.

    • Susie says:

      I truly understand why people are tired of these aggressively white worlds but I find them fascinating particularly because it’s actually super true to real world experience and because I actually would never want a Nancy meyer or god forbid Sofia Coppola movie to have black people. The world of those type of directors doesn’t have black people outside of service roles or service “friendships”. I think putting POC inside is actually more harmful cuz it would very obv be tokenism. She wouldn’t have the experience to know how to write a human POC. It would be like asking her to make a sci-fi movie. She has enough craft to make it look good but not actually be good. This is how those worlds function and as a person who would never be allowed inside without my appearance warping and changing the dynamics it’s actually interesting to see. I enjoy it for what it is gorgeous aesthetics in a fantasy world. And the fantasy of being harmless while rich and white person is actually revealing. This is what these people want the world to be. The perks with none of the horror necessary to create it. They get to be the pleasing and harmless good guys of their story without any complex social issues. worlds like this are as much a fantasy as black panther because you can’t create them without oppression no matter how individually nice you and your friends are.
      I enjoy the fantasy because I know it’s a fantasy and cuz if you are going to remove all complexities at least be as aesthetically beautiful as Nancy Meyer. Different movies and genres have different purposes and she is definitely the best at this specific type.

    • R says:

      SAME. I enjoy Nancy Meyer’s sense of style, but I’ve never been interested in the plots or characters of her movies. big pass for me, none of the actors/actresses in the aforementioned movie makes me want to see it either. In the case of ScarJo, she makes me literally bail out on every movie she’s in and that was even before her stunt casting as an Asian person and her awful foot in mouth syndrome.

    • Deering24 says:

      And Meyers almost always opts for boring-ass wealthy-suburban convention in her endings. Come on, who really wanted Diane Keaton to wind up with Jack Nicholson instead of Keanu Reeves in Something’s Got To Give? As well, there’s an inchoate smugness about her movies that is a real turnoff. Rom-coms need generosity of spirit and an outward-looking view to really work–not reinforcing the same tired tropes.

  2. ThatsNotOkay says:

    This sounds stupidly autobiographical. Or loosely based on real stupid events.

    • EllenOlenska says:

      I do love a good Nancy Meyers rom com but it does seem she has spent a great deal of time revisiting memory lane with her ex of late. I’m with you on that score.

      It is nice to see strong female directors (Shonda rimes and Nancy Meyers) who have delivered more consistently than many men, get shown some love by Netflix.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Agreed!! I had forgotten Meyers so I looked back and she was involved with Protocol, Jumpin Jack Flash as well as Private Benjamin, which are some of my all time favorites. My god, who could forget Eileen Brennan!! Such an incredible actor! Ms. Brennan had such wonderful wit and comedic timing. What an incredible actor and woman.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        If I remember correctly, Ms. Brennan started in a few episodes of Will & Grace too as the older woman with the fabulous apartment as well….???

        Am I remembering correctly??

  3. Emmi says:

    I love a Nancy Meyers rom-com but the only way this will be worth that price tag is if Jennifer Coolidge plays one of the “volatile stars”, Keanu plays the other, and … who could be romantic leads? I’m not feeling Scarlett at all. Also never been into Fassy but he might make it work.

    I feel like this plot is familiar. It reminds me of America’s Sweethearts, a BRILLIANT movie that’s completely underrated. I loved it at the time but over the years, whenever I put it on again, I felt like it became better and better.

    • tealily says:

      Yeah, I feel like anyone but Scarlett for this.

      • North of Boston says:

        And I feel like anyone but Owen Wilson for this. Especially if he brings the hair from that j lo movie

      • SAS says:

        @North of Boston, I too, cannot deal with Owen as a romantic lead. I don’t know where or when he lost his charisma but he was PAINFUL in the recent JLo romcom.

    • shanaynay says:

      Totally agree. Anyone but Scarlett. Not a fan of hers or any of her movies.

  4. Susie says:

    But isn’t the reason they are “overpaying” because they don’t have traditional back end profits. So they have to front load everything cuz everyone is only getting paid the one time. That’s why Scarlett sued and was given a major settlement from Disney. Streaming isn’t yet equally as profitable for actors or even studios as a big theatre release. Esp for glass onion where it was highly successful movie in theatres and with many stars it needs to payout a lot of money to equal what they would get if it went the traditional route. And I would guess now esp as residuals have been drying up due to streaming that agents are even firmer on making sure the clients get their worth. Plus the knives out and Nancy meyer movies are some of the few sure bets that aren’t comic books or adaptations. Nancy Meyers movies make big money along with prestige and awards. Which is probably why Netflix wants them so much. I would actually be interested to know how everyone but Daniel craigs pay averages out in the long term versus the original and the sequel. Or If you remove the bump that comes with being a sequel to a successful movie I wonder if Daniel Craig and rien Johnson do better with the original or the sequels in the longer term.

  5. Lionel says:

    Not sure how she “scammed” Netflix into this? Her track record is solid, and clearly someone crunched the numbers before making an offer. If it makes Netflix a profit then it’s a good investment for them, and frankly I say good for her.

  6. Ellie says:

    At first I had to think about what month it was to rule out an April fool’s day joke and then it kind of tripped me up a bit that they mentioned this was first brought to the table last April. In any case, how bizarre, from start to finish.

  7. tealily says:

    “Paris Paramount” sounds like it will at least be partially set in Paris, right?

  8. Alex says:

    I AM FIRST!!!!!!!!!! Oh my!!!! I want to thank God, Celebitchy, my pups, my family, all Celebitchy readers…. Hahaha
    I love ROM -coms!!!! Bring them back and love all the stars chosen too. We need more good feeling movies. I don’t even know anymore what it is overpriced anymore, since everything it is so expensive and overpriced. Elon musk paying 44 billion!! for Twitter, a space telescope costs 10 billion. Everything it is so out of the realm of what have I known.

  9. Sara says:

    I swear I have already seen this movie – at least twice – on the Hallmark Channel. And that is not a slam against the Hallmark Channel.

    • BeanieBean says:

      It seems like something from the 1950s, or earlier–Spencer Tracy-Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant-Rosalind Russell, Judy Holiday-William Holden (OK, I’m only certain of the Tracy-Hepburn pairing, but you get my drift).
      Plus, I’m so used to reading articles about the crazy-stupid money in the movie biz that I saw that number–$130 mill–and thought, what, is that a lot? I truly can’t tell any more.

  10. lucy2 says:

    Eh, Meyers has a pretty solid track record as a writer and director, and rom coms seem like they’re starting to make a bit of a comeback. Netflix has made several movies in that budget range, with mixed results, but I’d imagine if it’s all big name stars, most of it is in the actor salaries.
    I’ll probably watch it, I like the visuals of Meyer’s movies, but I agree with the posts above that her casts are waaaaaay too white, and I’d imagine behind the scenes is the same.

  11. TIFFANY says:

    That main cast already reads like a who’s who of charisma vacuum. Jeez.

  12. SquiddusMaximus says:

    Turn this into a truly steamy romance with Fassbender at the center and I can be convinced that $130M is worthwhile. When was the last time we were given a properly hot storyline with electrifying chemistry? An overabundance of regurgutated plots and pretty-but-soulless stars, but nothing that makes me run for the bedsheets.

    I. Need. A. GoodSexyMovie.

    Please don’t tell me I’m alone here. I’m a mom; I’m not dead.

    • Sue E Generis says:

      Pretty sure everyone has a different conception of what ‘sexy’ means but sexy isn’t really Meyers’ thing. She’s light on substance and heavy on Martha Stewart’s wet dream homes (which Meyers is the undisputed master of, btw).

      But I do agree that I don’t see Fassbender being good at light comedy. He’s so intense, I could see him killing it in a real ‘sexy’ movie. And for me, ScarJo is kind of a lump. I don’t get her.

    • Deering24 says:

      SquiddusMaximus–Fassbender’s Jane Eyre was right tasty in the steam-heat department. His intensity was perfect there. 😉

  13. Christine says:

    Some exec at Netflix is truly an idiot. I really don’t think a rom com starring boring actors in a boring, unrelatable plot is going to create much buzz.

  14. Kokiri says:

    The issue I have with this is dumping all that money into a basic movie, with a basic plot, that’s (again AGAIN) cis het and cancelling excellent shows like warrior nun & the bastard son and the devil himself & first kill.
    And raising prices, for mediocre content.

    I don’t care who Nancy is. We don’t need this. What we need are shows with representation but they keep getting cancelled.

  15. Kirsten says:

    Michael Fassbender already has three movies that’s he’s filmed and that are scheduled to come out this year, so this won’t be the first new thing that people see him in.

  16. Krista says:

    Well, my kitchen needs updating, so I hope most of this $ is going into set design. I need some great ideas.

  17. Aly says:

    Based on the cast and the plot, I’m sure this is going be a pretentious snooze fest. Movie studios will pour in big money for movies that no one asked for but they can’t finance a decent mid budget cutesy romantic comedy with actors that actually have chemistry together.

  18. Veronica S. says:

    It’s so interesting to me that Netflix is starting to pull big names *after* I think it actually passed its peak. Outside of a few critical darlings, I think most of what they debut either gets cancelled too early or flops because they put no effort or oversight into it.

    Nice to see Fassbender out and about, though. He seemed poised to go big into drama after “A Dangerous Method.” I wonder if he got burnt out on the franchise years.

    • Deering24 says:

      Heck, Fassbender was everywhere during the X-Men years and did several dramas (Steve Jobs, The Light Between.) No wonder he took time off. IIRC, he did auto-racing.

  19. The Recluse says:

    I would be more intrigued if it was a flat out comedy, like the sort Ben Stiller could pull off.
    If it was a comedy, without the romance focus angle, I would so be there.

  20. SarahFrancisco says:

    Lots of male directors asked and revived enormous amounts of funding for absolutely stupid movies that bombed. If Nancy decided to ask for this amount and Netflix decided to give it to her, great. I support women and especially in this male dominated profession.

  21. jgerber says:

    Lionel, strong agree. I was ready for a good scam story, but this isn’t it. I don’t know Nancy Meyers at all, but I think the title of the article is misleading. It’s Netflix’s call as to whether the movie makes sense to them, and they think it does. A story about blown-up budgets, yes, but a scam? No.