Now that its first few Sundance Film Festival purchases are out of the way, Netflix is getting back to spending in other corners of the movie world. Deadline is reporting the streaming monolith has agreed to fund and distribute five new indie movies, all of which are still being made. Ryan Koo is making Amateur, a high school basketball drama; Tony Elliott's ARQ follows an engineer stuck in a Groundhog Day-like time loop; Alistair Legrand is directing Clinical, a psychiatric thriller; Osgood Perkins' I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is a spooky ghost story; finally, Gerard McMurray's Underground is a fraternity hazing drama.
None of the movies are explicitly comedic, but together they have the potential to give Netflix's burgeoning film program a low-risk, high-reward dramatic anchor. The company has prestige dramas like Beasts of No Nation and War Machine on tap, and its comedy bases are covered by fare like Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous Six and Christopher Guest's upcoming Mascots. This round of purchases has more in common with the Duplass brothers' multi-film agreement than any of the high-profile acquisitions above. (It's unclear whether or not the movies will enjoy a theatrical release window before arriving on Netflix, a concession the company made in dealing with the Duplasses.) When you evaluate the deals in combination with the company's Sundance purchases and recent rhetoric, it's clear Netflix wants to leave 2016 with an original film unit that's just as impressive as its TV department.