Netflix is close to securing its biggest movie deal yet with a top bid for Bright, a supernatural cop film co-starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton with Suicide Squad's David Ayer on board to direct. It would be Netflix's most ambitious project to date, with the company footing a rumored budget of between $80 and $100 million and an actor with as much star power as Smith already attached. The news was reported first today by The Hollywood Reporter.
Bright stars Smith as a human cop in a world where fantasy elements are an accepted part of society. Smith is tasked with tracking down a powerful wand and must team up with an orc (Joel Edgerton) to do so. The script is written by Max Landis, who penned the found footage superhero film Chronicle and stoner comedy American Ultra. Just days ago, The Wrap reported that Warner Bros. failed to close a deal for Bright, despite being the studio behind Ayer and Smith’s upcoming film Suicide Squad. If Netflix does close the deal, it could be a huge win for the streaming service and open the gateway for all types of mainstream Hollywood blockbusters.
Warner Bros. failed to beat Netflix for a top bid on Bright
One open question, however, is distribution. Netflix has run into troubles with major theater chains who have been reluctant to let the company's movies into theaters the same day they show up online. All four major chains in the US refused to screen last year's Beasts of No Nation, and did the same for the IMAX release of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Sword of Destiny. Amazon, on the contrary, has been happy to allow its films to have exclusive theatrical runs before they come to Prime Video, as it did last year with Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq. However, it's very unlikely Netflix nabbed Bright without first hammering out logistics for a theatrical release, as a Smith movie of this magnitude feels too big a project to risk a theater chain boycott.