Jeffrey Katzenberg Is Courting J.J. Abrams for Quibi: ‘He’s Leaning in and Is Intrigued’

Ryan Lattanzio

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Quibi is a week out from its launch date, April 6, which means the world can finally experience Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s long-speculated-over, mobile-only short-form streaming service. Quibi, which has already lined up a raft of content, is an abbreviation of “quick bites,” as each episode of each series clocks in at under 10 minutes. The streaming service has already poached plenty of top-tier talent from film and television, including Idris Elba, Chance the Rapper, Reese Witherspoon, Chrissy Teigen, Tituss Burgess, Lena Waithe, Kirby Jenner, and many more.

However, Katzenberg, as revealed in a new interview with Deadline, has his eyes on another prize: J.J. Abrams, whose last project was “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” which opened theatrically in December and was recently fast-tracked to VOD amid theater shutdowns.

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“There’s been a handful of filmmakers that have been busy on their own work that I’m dying to have come play. As an example, J.J. Abrams has spent this last year on ‘Star Wars’ work and has now just come up for air, and we’ve actually been having conversations in the last couple of weeks and he’s leaning in and is intrigued,” Katzenberg said.

However, he has a few other pie-in-the-sky hopefuls.

“Someday, the dream is to get Jim Cameron, and I haven’t got Martin Scorsese yet, but there’s not many,” Katzenberg said. Both Cameron and Scorsese are filmmakers who give primacy to the theatrical experience, but Scorsese last year cut his teeth in the streaming space with “The Irishman.”

Katzenberg also gave a status update on another high-profile project, Steven Spielberg’s “After Dark,” a short-form horror series that reportedly will only be available to consume after sunset.

“He was finishing up ‘West Side Story,’ but he’s actually got a bit of free time and every week, I’m prodding him to get back to writing, because he wants to write that himself, and he’s written half of it,” Katzenberg said. “They came up with great technology for it, and he’s very excited and we’re holding that just for him — that was his idea and I can’t wait for him to get a shot at it.”

After locking up approximately a gazillion deals with talent and an unveiling at this year’s Sundance Film Festival back in January, Quibi is set to release approximately 175 series within its first year, 50 of which will be available during the official launch on April 6. The subscription will set you back $5 a month for an ad-supported service and $8 for no ads. And if you’re feeling unsure about committing the bare minimum of time to Quibi’s short-form offerings, the streaming service is extending a 90-day free trial if you sign up before April 6. Here’s a roundup of the content coming to Quibi.

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