This year, Amazon Studios became the first streaming service to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, with their compelling meditation on grief, Manchester by the Sea. It's not a stretch to imagine the big dogs at Netflix were agitated by this; as the seemingly number one streaming service, when it comes to original feature-length films, they're yet to really hit it out of the park.
That's something Netflix is looking to rectify, though, and they're turning to Hollywood hot property, Tom Hardy, to assist. Fighting off competition from Amazon Studios, Universal and Lionsgate, Netflix has made a successful seven-figure pitch deal to purchase the lifetime rights of War Party, a Navy SEAL thriller with Hardy in the lead role as a decorated member of the military.
Co-written by Andrew Dominik (who will also direct) and Harrison Query, the proposed story will be based on true events. Although the details of the #WarParty plot aren't clear, #TomHardy's new movie will see him reunited with the director who gave him his big break in Black Hawk Down (2001), Ridley Scott, as his production company Scott Free Films will produce.
Over the past few years, everything Hardy touches turns to gold, and his debut production with Netflix highlights the calibre the service are aiming for in future. Considering the competition for the rights, it's clear that those in the industry are tipping War Party to have a big impact upon release.
Netflix Are Serious About Feature-Length Movies
To date, Netflix movies have failed to compete with their original TV shows, which include Stranger Things, Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards. To help improve their standing, Netflix has also stated their intent to become a leading force by hiring Scott Stuber as the new head of their film division, beating off competition. Stuber is well-respected in the industry, having produced a host of hit films, including the Fast and the Furious and Bourne franchises.
The news of Stuber's appointment follows announcements of a number of high profile names turning to the streaming service to produce original content, including Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, Brad Pitt's War Machine and Angelina Jolie's First They Killed My Father.
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With 93 million subscribers worldwide providing billions in revenue, it's not a stretch to see Netflix becoming a global force in film production, evidenced by another upcoming product, Will Smith's cop fantasy, Bright, which cost $90 million to produce — an amount that suggests a theatrical release is almost certain.
Netflix Theatrical Releases Could Change The Film Industry
That in itself is significant. Netflix was under scrutiny following attempts to simultaneously release Beasts of No Nation into theatres while it was also available to stream, with a number of theatre chains boycotting due to fears of how the streaming giant could change the way consumers digest movies.
Hardy's War Party is yet more evidence that things are set to change, although they could switch to an Amazon Studios model, and give films a theatrical release followed by streaming availability months later. But like it or not, Netflix's hold within the industry is only set to increase, and the chances are, in the next few years, a Netflix original will win an Oscar. Reason to party indeed.
Are you pleased Netflix are investing in original feature-length movies, such as War Party? Or could it have a negative impact on the industry?
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)