Deadline reports that Simon Kinberg is leaving 20th Century Fox, quietly ending his development deal between Fox and his production company Genre Films. This comes as he’s just started shooting his female-led spy flick 355 for Universal Pictures in France.
One day into production in Europe on the global spy thriller 355 that he hatched with Jessica Chastain for Universal, FilmNation and Freckle Films, Simon Kinberg’s Genre Films is quietly exiting his overall film deal at Fox this month. That brings to an end a 20-year run where he has worked steadily, pretty much since he sold to the studio his first script out of Columbia University, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Genre has had an overall Fox film deal since 2010.
While the article claims it has nothing to do with a massive bombing of final X-Men film Dark Phoenix, Kinberg did lose Fox a lot of money (over $100 million) with his first attempt at feature film directing and I’m not sure his development deal would have survived even if he wasn’t working with another studio currently.
There is a good chance that Disney’s Alan Horn was part of the severing of the deal, even if Deadline suggests that Kinberg was the one that ended things (article sounds like the perspectives are coming from Simon’s camp).
Hopefully, Universal and Kinberg are able to release some quality films as they certainly weren’t too concerned about the box office of Dark Phoenix as they didn’t pause production on 355 or attempt to find a replacement director. Then again, they could at the point of no return and are going to think happy thoughts until the studio test screenings.
It’ll be interesting to see how 355 turns out in the end. However, if it is another box office blunder and he keeps getting high-profile directing work it is going to look like another white male director failing upwards because of their clout in Hollywood, not based on their skill/talent.