Financial Negotiations: Brad Pitt’s Negotiation Nightmare

By on / Business Negotiations

In challenging economic times, negotiators can find themselves in an entirely new ball game. That’s what happened to actor Brad Pitt, film director Steven Soderbergh, and their production team when Sony Pictures abruptly pulled the plug on their film project Moneyball just days before the start of shooting in late June.

In his book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (W.W. Norton, 2003), Michael Lewis described how Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane transformed a losing team into a serious pennant contender. Soon after the book was published, a film producer sold a script based on Lewis’s book to Sony. After Brad Pitt became interested in playing Billy Beane, Sony put the film on the fast track. Steven Soderbergh signed on as director, and the film’s budget was set at about $57 million.

Then the recession hit, and Sony and other studios began to get skittish about producing cerebral films, like Moneyball, that were geared toward an older audience.  That’s when Moneyball began to go south for Pitt and Soderbergh. “A Film Project Strikes Out” is one of the articles featured in the September issue of the Negotiation newsletter, which shows you how to cope when the circumstances surrounding your deal change.

When economic conditions change, once-promising deals can falter.  In the September issue of Negotiation newsletter, the editors and experts from the Harvard faculty and member institutions of the Program on Negotiation offer advice to help you navigate long-term negotiations.


Discover step-by-step techniques for avoiding common business negotiation pitfalls when you download a copy of the FREE special report, Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.


Related Article: Negotiating Financial Strategies that Work: Adding Third Parties to Seal the Deal

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