Bad Robot drew interest from Apple Inc., Inc., Comcast Corp., Disney, Netflix, Sony and Viacom Inc. The courtship was slow, according to multiple participants. Executives met with team Abrams one month, and then didn’t hear back for weeks. Often when they returned to share their plans, they were asked for another proposal without explanation.

Even with Abrams’s reputation as an impresario and a progressive, he’s more of a traditionalist when it comes to Hollywood. He idolizes Spielberg, the father of the modern blockbuster, and collaborated with the director on a 2011 sci-fi picture called “Super 8,” named after the old-school film camera. Abrams wants to see his movies in theaters, a big reason why streaming companies like Apple, Netflix and Amazon couldn’t lure him away.

Disney CEO Bob Iger traveled to Abrams’s offices; so did Jeff Shell, chairman of Comcast’s NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment.

Universal touted its booming theme-park business, and comparable deals with horror maestro Jason Blum, animation kingpin Chris Meledandri and Spielberg. Those producers all have long-term agreements with Universal, and ownership in their projects.

Disney hardly had to do much convincing that it’s good at building and maintaining entertainment brands. Abrams helped the company relaunch the “Star Wars” franchise with 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” and characters from Disney’s Marvel and Pixar are big hits in toy stores. But Disney hasn’t been doing multi-picture deals with producers like it had in the past with Jerry Bruckheimer of “Pirates of the Caribbean” fame.

Standing in the wings was a suitor both old and new: Warner Bros., now owned by AT&T. Bad Robot has worked with Warner Bros. for more than a decade, producing hits such as “Fringe,” “Person of Interest” and the HBO series “Westworld.” While many of the shows he produced in recent years have failed, the two have a long history.

But in addition to new ownership, Warner Bros. was also under new management, led by John Stankey, a career AT&T executive little known in Hollywood.

Stankey had a rough start in entertainment, as outsiders often do. Almost all of his direct reports at WarnerMedia have either quit or been fired. But with Abrams he saw an opportunity to pitch everything AT&T had to offer. Stankey tore down the company’s conventional silos and offered Abrams near free rein across the entertainment company.

Bad Robot could make big movies for Warner Bros., or smaller ones for the new streaming service HBO Max. He could make TV shows for HBO or TNT, or venture into streaming himself given’s the company’s huge network of internet and mobile-phone customers.

Abrams already had a deal for games with Warner Bros., and could use AT&T’s wireless customer base to experiment. Between DirecTV and the phone business, AT&T knew more about its consumers than almost any other company — at least that’s what Stankey said.