Netflix's Biggest Movie Yet May Be 'Bright,' Starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton

Netflix's Biggest Movie Yet May Be 'Bright,' Starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton

Mar 10, 2016

Suicide Squad / David Ayer

Just last week, we heard about a cool new project that would reunite Will Smith and Joel Edgerton with David Ayer, their Suicide Squad director. Titled Bright, it's based on an original screenplay by Max Landis (American Ultra, Victor Frankenstein) that was described as "a contemporary cop thriller, but with fantastical elements."

Now we're hearing via The Hollywood Reporter that Netflix is in negotiations to acquire and produce the package. If everything works out, it would be the biggest movie deal yet for the streaming service.

More details about the story have also been revealed. Reportedly, Bright is described as a "mixing of End of Watch, Ayer’s own 2012 gritty cop movie, and Alien Nation, the 1988 sci-fi thriller that starred James Caan and Mandy Patinkin as a human and an alien cop forced to work together. In Bright, the setting is a world where magical creatures live side by side with humans and the police have a division handling crimes involving magic. A human cop (Smith) is forced to work with an Orc (Edgerton) to find something that unsavory elements are prepared to kill for -- a powerful wand."

Max Landis, son of veteran filmmaker John Landis, has quickly built a reputation since 2012's Chronicle by writing scripts that mix the action and horror genres with a dark sense of humor. Bright sounds like his most dramatic yet fantastical story to date. It may also be his most ambitious; the budget may be in the range of $80 million to $100 million, which hints at the cost of the special visual effects that would be required to bring a world filled with magical creatures to life.


In January, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos commented: "We have big plans for 2016 and beyond." That includes about 600 hours of original programming; Netflix has budgeted some $5 billion for original programming and content acquisition.

The streaming service has plans to make 15 original titles available this year, including movies starring Brad Pitt (War Machine) and Paul Rudd (The Fundamentals of Caring), as well as one directed by Angelina Jolie (First They Killed My Father). Next up: Pee-wee's Big Holiday on March 18.

What's less clear is whether Netflix will make any of their original or acquired productions available exclusively in theaters ahead of debuting the titles online. Nextflix released the critically-acclaimed drama Beasts of No Nations, starring Idris Elba, in select theaters on the same day it was available to stream, to little success. Last month, the service tried the same thing with martial arts drama Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, though it was only able to secure a few playdates at IMAX theaters simultaneously with its streaming debut.

For now, Netflix's slate is filled with original productions that, however intriguing, are not necessarily meant for mainstream audiences. Bright would mark a notable change for the service, so we're eager to hear if they'll be able to close the deal.

Categories: News, In Development, Geek
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