Rihanna Has a Massive Documentary Deal, Too
One week after the size of Billie Eilish’s documentary deal leaked, the size of Rihanna’s documentary deal has leaked. Just like Eilish’s, the distribution rights for Rihanna’s long-teased film, which promises “unparalleled access into the singer’s life,” sold for $25 million, per The Hollywood Reporter, which describes both paydays as “massive.” Amazon purchased Rihanna’s doc and Apple purchased Eilish’s doc, respectively.
As we pointed out last week, it does appear that the deals are pretty large, based on figures that have been publicized for other star-led music and entertainment documentaries. Comparable projects from the past year sold for less: Netflix reportedly purchased Beyoncé’s Homecoming concert film for $20 million, and Martin Scorsese’s film about Bob Dylan’s 1970s Rolling Thunder Revue tour for “more than $20 million.” Likewise, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock reportedly sold stand-up specials to Netflix for $20 million each in 2016.
More interesting than the fact that the world’s most popular entertainers are getting very rich off streaming services’ arms race, though, is which entertainers’ riches become public. Taylor Swift has a presumably lucrative Netflix deal, too, but its size has not been disclosed. Rihanna’s documentary has been in the works for years, and it’s not clear from the reporting whether Amazon’s purchase is new, or just the publication of the number. (THR is owned by Valence Media, which also owns SPIN.)
We don’t know who leaked the details, but it’s fun to speculate. Amazon and Apple are fighting the likes of Netflix from behind for market share, and for content from high-profile artists to shove in our face. It’s quite possible that the numbers came from sources inside those companies, with the intention of publicizing their spending power. And the timing of this Rihanna leak, coming just after the news of the Eilish number, is conspicuous. Of course, pop music is a competition, too.
Neither Rihanna’s nor Eilish’s documentaries have release dates.