Netflix Enters the Movie Biz

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Beasts of No Nation
dris Elba in the Netflix Original Film “BEASTS OF NO NATION” Photo Courtesy Netflix

Not content simply to stream movies and television shows, Netflix has already shown that it’s capable of producing some great series (see: Daredevil, among other things). Earlier this summer, they also announced plans to start making movies, too.

So far, several films have been announced.

The first is Beasts of No Nation, written and directed by Emmy Award winner Cary Fukunaga. It’s a story about a child soldier fighting in a civil war, based on a novel by Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala. The movie is set to premier October 16, 2015, on Netflix and in select US movie theaters.

The Ridiculous Six is the first of four planned Adam Sandler films, premiering on Netflix only on December 11, 2015. I haven’t seen much else about the film yet, just that it’s a “comedic, western ensemble” and the cast list: Sandler, Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Luke WIlson, and Nick Nolte.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Michelle Yeoh stars in Netflix’s CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON: THE GREEN LEGEND. Photo credit: Rico Torres for Netflix

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend is the one I’m really excited about, because I’m a big fan of the original. Michelle Yeoh reprises her role, and is joined by Donnie Yen, Harry Shum Jr., Jason Scott Lee, Roger Yuan, Eugenia Yuam, and newcomer Natasha Liu Bordizzo. It’s directed by Yuen Wo-Ping, so you know the martial arts scenes will be spectacular. It‘s expected sometime in the first quarter of 2016, showing up in theaters in China and on Netflix globally.

Pee-wee’s Big Holiday comes next, in March 2016, with Paul Reubens returning in his iconic role. Judd Apatow is also involved in the project, and it’s the story of Pee-wee’s first-ever holiday.

Brad Pitt will be starring in War Machine, a satirical comedy about war (and not, as you might have hoped, a film about Don Cheadle’s character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). That’s expected sometime in 2016.

Finally, just announced yesterday is First They Killed My Father, directed by Angelina Jolie Pitt, an adaptation of a memoir about the Khmer Rouge regime by Cambodian author Loung Ung. It’s planned for a late 2016 release on Netflix, and will also be submitted to international film festivals.

I’ll be interested to see how Netflix fares in the movie business. Will a movie suffer because it’s only available on a small screen rather than in the theater, or will it do better? How do you figure box office numbers on something that’s included in a monthly subscription fee? And, of course, the biggest question: will the movies be good?

I guess we’ll start finding out soon enough. In the meantime, I’m catching up on the last season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix Stream Team and have been provided with Netflix access for review purposes, but opinions expressed are my own.

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