Barbarian director gets massive “unprecedented” salary for new horror

Zach Cregger and a still from his horror movie Barbarian20th Century Studios

Zach Cregger, the filmmaker behind Barbarian, is working on a new “epic” horror movie – and he’s already earned a huge “unprecedented” salary to write and direct it.

In a year that felt defined by Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water, 2022 was amazing for horror: X, Pearl, Nope, Bones and All, Terrifier 2, Hellraiser, and especially Barbarian.

It’s twisty, brutal, and bloody brilliant, but rather tricky to discuss without venturing into spoiler territory. So, we’ll say this: it stars Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgard, and Justin Long, and revolves around a sketchy Airbnb in Detroit. That’s all you need to know.

Article continues after ad

From a budget of just $4 million, it grossed more than $45 million worldwide and became the US’ most streamed movie on any platform during Halloween.

Barbarian director gets huge payday for new horror

Cregger’s new horror movie, titled Weapons, was at the center of a recent bidding frenzy. It hit the market on January 22, despite studios’ pleas to get a sneak peek at the project beforehand, and the hard-to-get approach immediately paid off.

New Line won the rights to the movie, and Cregger landed an eight-figure salary to write and direct it. The Hollywood Reporter described the payday as “unprecedented”, and with good reason.

Article continues after ad

It harks back to a bygone era at the movies where spec sales were lucrative for screenwriters; the most famous example is Shane Black, who started off with a £250,000 fee for Lethal Weapon before earning $4 million for his work on The Long Kiss Goodnight.

It’s not just about the money, though: Cregger has also been guaranteed the greenlight, final cut, theatrical distribution, and a share of the movie’s box office performance.

Little is known about what shape Weapons will take, but it’s been described as “an interrelated, multi-story horror epic that tonally is in the vein of Magnolia.” Meaning we’re definitely sold.

Article continues after ad

Barbarian is available to stream on HBO Max and Disney+ now. You can sign up for Disney+ here.

Please note that if you click on a product link on this page we may earn a small affiliate commission.

Related Topics