Netflix ups the ante with its latest movie. The company will reportedly spend over $90 million to make "Bright" with Will Smith in a lead role. It will premiere in cinemas and globally on Netflix on the same day.
Netflix's most expensive film
The streaming giant will put further pressure on the industry’s legacy business model. Like its previous movies, Netflix will debut Bright globally (China excluded) to every one of its subscribers. Unlike its previous movies, Bright has a budget that is usually associated only with major cinema screenings.
The plan is to turn it into a franchise
Bright is described as a "fantasy cop thriller" where orcs and fairies live among humans. Will Smith and Joel Edgerton (Exodus: God and Kings) will have lead roles. David Ayer is director and Max Landis is screenwriter. The plan is to turn it into a franchise with more movies coming out in the near future.
Netflix will also shake up the financing model. Traditionally, actors and other parties receive residuals from ticket sales and after-market sales. As part of the agreement Netflix will pay half of the $90 million up-front to talent, the other half to cover production costs.
First Brad Pitt, now Will Smith
Netflix will probably not sign these types of deals every two weeks but as the company is expanding its global footprint budgets will surely increase. And more importantly, Netflix sends a clear message that they can afford to spend big money on movies.
Furthermore, this is not an isolated case for Netflix. Last year, the company coughed up 60 million dollars to invest in "War Machine" starring Brad Pitt. It will premiere later in the 2016.
It is not clear whether Bright will be produced in 4K and HDR quality.
According to Deadline, Netflix signed the deal after a two-week bidding war. Warner Bros., MGM and PalmStar were all interested in turning Bright into a movie with big-screen appeal but the team ultimately decided to trust in Netflix’s innovative distribution model.
Netflix has so far released four major movies; Beasts of No Nation, The Ridiculous 6, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny and Pee-wee's Big Holiday.