Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro, might be heading to Netflix, which apparently offered $105M for a full buyout of the film this afternoon after its Mexican financier, Gaston Pavlovich of Fabrica de Cine fell out, two sources involved with the project told Deadline tonight. Meanwhile, it is known that STX already had signed agreements with all output partners to the tune of $50M, with about $40M more accumulated in tax credits and incentives. The negotiations were continuing late into the day Tuesday, and at 5 PM it was still at Paramount Pictures, which still has its $15M deal domestic rights.
It is known that the STX deal was tied to Fabrica de Cine. In order to move the project to Netflix, many deals would have to be unraveled legally, which has not yet taken place, but domestic could move over to Netflix much easier. It’s understood that Netflix is interested in worldwide rights, so that essentially would push STX out of the equation.
The film, which appears to be slowly making its way to Netflix, has Oscar written all over it. Tribeca Productions started with this project in 2008, when the Charles Brandt’s true-crime book I Heard You Paint Houses was published. It tells the deathbed story of mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, who claims to have had insider knowledge about the disappearance and death of Jimmy Hoffa.
With a Netflix agreement, which IndieWire first reported, it was known that Scorsese was looking at a budget of about $150M because of the visual effects to make the actors appear younger. They had been talking to Netflix over the past couple of weeks. Scorsese’s budget was said to be too rich for Mexican financier-producer Gaston Pavlovich of Fábrica de Cine. It was Fábrica de Cine that also financed Scorsese’s Silence to the tune of $50M.
The Mexican financier was in the center of what became a bidding war at Cannes for the rights to the high-profile project, with STX winning the foreign rights for a $50M price tag. The domestic distributor was to be Paramount, which has just undergone a management change at the top level with the exit of Brad Grey. It is not known how much Netflix stepped up to the plate for to win the rights of The Irishman, but it was known that the budget had ballooned from $100M to $150M. The long-gestating film seems custom-made for Oscar as a reunion of all the great old actors from the filmmakers’ mob films, reuniting Scorsese with his Goodfellas stars De Niro and Joe Pesci, as well as mark his first time working with Al Pacino.
It was one of the biggest sales for foreign rights at Cannes as the final bids came down to Universal, Fox and STX going toe-to-toe with Lionsgate along with Stuart Ford’s IM Global and Alex Walton’s Bloom also in the mix.