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Netflix just bought a sci-fi movie starring Rooney Mara and Jason Segel

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The Discovery is on track to premiere in 2017

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Netflix is making an exciting addition to its growing lineup of original films by purchasing The Discovery, a new movie from writer-director Charlie McDowell that's going to explore the consequences of an afterlife whose existence has been scientifically proven. Deadline is reporting the streaming service has purchased the global rights to the movie, which is going to premiere on Netflix and enjoy a brief run in domestic theaters next year. Rooney Mara and Jason Segel are going to play the couple at the movie's center; Robert Redford will play Segel's father, the man responsible for discovering the afterlife.

Great premise, even better cast

In terms of pedigree, it's an acquisition that has more in common with Netflix's recent indie purchases and Sundance buying spree than its ballyhooed Adam Sandler deal. It's easy to forget about Netflix's movie program when it's premiering a new show around the world almost every week, but the company's emphasis on original content is starting to pay dividends in the film world too. It's made huge bets on movies from Sandler, Ricky Gervais, Christopher Guest, and Brad Pitt, and it's getting into bidding wars with studio heavyweights for cop movies starring Will Smith. (And if its original movies fail to captivate, it can fall back on a pricey exclusivity deal with Disney.)

It's early, but The Discovery can boast a fascinating premise and a compelling cast. It's easy to understand why Netflix is excited about it. "To describe the story as original doesn't begin to capture the world that Charlie has created," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos to Deadline. "Our global viewers are going to love this film."