‘Barbarian’ creator Zach Cregger’s ‘Weapons’ gets killer deal

Among 2022’s more exciting success stories was “Barbarian,” a low budget, not-quite-by-the-rules horror picture that earned $45 million at the domestic box office. Unlike most genre films, it held the top spot for multiple weeks, while garnering terrific word of mouth. When it hit streaming, it spawned a cascade of memes, which one could say is the new metric of success for this sort of thing. How its writer-director, Zach Cregger, new to successful feature filmmaking but not to the industry, would follow up was the question every studio wanted answered. 

Since the Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, and Justin Long-starring film was financed independently, then released through 20th Century Films, Cregger and his producers rolled the dice on not signing an early deal, hoping a bidding war would follow. Their play has paid off.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cregger’s next project has sold to New Line Cinema for “eight figures.” The former sketch comedian (Cregger was a founding member of the Whitest Kids U’ Know) will write and direct, has final cut, backend interest, and a guaranteed theatrical launch provided early tests pass a certain threshold. The project, called “Weapons,” was apparently bid on by every shop in town. 

It has been described as a horror film with a series of interlocking small stories—think Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia” or Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts,” but with some gross-outs. No talent is yet attached, but considering how much chatter emerged out of “Barbarian,” particularly for Justin Long, and that a wide array of smaller stories would mean smaller calendar commitments for many performers, Cregger may end up with an all-star cast. 

THR’s story suggests that Netflix offered more dough than Warner Bros. Discovery’s New Line, but the promise of a theatrical distribution was the dealbreaker for Cregger and company. Additionally, there is an understanding that if “Weapons” lands, Cregger would stay in the fold as their go-to guy for clever, energetic horror pictures.  

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