Ava DuVernay and Warner Bros. Television are parting ways.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the prolific multihyphenate has opted to end her overall deal with the studio following the conclusion of her five-year deal. The rich pact, which DuVernay signed in late 2018, officially ends May 31. Insiders say DuVernay is expected to focus more on her current film slate. It’s unclear if the writer-director-producer behind Caste and helmer of A Wrinkle in Time will set up shop with a TV deal elsewhere.
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Sources say Warners and DuVernay’s decision to let the deal expire was a mutual one and was made months ago — before studios suspended overall deals with writers amid the ongoing labor strife between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios and streamers.
DuVernay signed with Warners when Peter Roth was still running the studio and a time when the industry was course correcting and prioritizing deals with diverse writers, producers and directors. At the time, DuVernay’s deal was estimated to have been worth $100 million, though sources in recent years note that it was more in the range of $60 million-$80 million. Roth is now a board member of DuVernay’s ARRAY banner, which could help point to a future as an independent studio without a need for a TV overall deal given the exec’s deep relationships with networks, studios and streamers across the industry.
DuVernay’s TV output for Warners included OWN’s recently concluded Queen Sugar, CBS’ For Justice, The CW’s DC Comics entry Naomi and Max’s DMZ. Her Netflix series, Colin in Black & White and When They See Us, were produced outside of DuVernay’s ARRAY deal with WBTV.
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