Netflix is about to launch its biggest film to date: Bright. Directed by Suicide Squad’s David Ayer and starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, this fantasy adventure is set in a modern-looking world where humans live alongside creatures such as Orcs and Elves live alongside humans.
Will Smith plays a human cop, in the film, while Joel Edgerton plays his orc counterpart. While they’re on the job, they come across an amazing find: a magic wand that grants wishes, a sort of nuclear bomb of this fantasy world. Needless to say, there’s a lot of people who will do anything to get their hands on it.
While the film itself looks like action-packed, blockbuster material, it’s a clear indication that Netflix is setting its sights high in Hollywood. While the streaming service has made a name for itself with shows such as House of Cards and Stranger Things, it has begun wading into the movie market with films like Beasts of No Nation, where it faces competition from theater chains.
Bright begins streaming on December 22nd.
Dec 31, 2017
A new featurette for Netflix’s Bright reveals the backstory that should have been in the film
Netflix recently began streaming its big blockbuster Bright, and it hasn’t been entirely well received by critics. The action film is set in a modern fantasy world where elves, humans, and orcs live alongside one another, but it only alluded to the larger world that drives much of the story. To help fill in those gaps, Netflix released a short video that highlights all of the history of the world that would have made the story a bit more comprehensible.Read Article >
Bright might not have been great film, but it did introduce viewers to an intriguing fantasy world; it just didn’t explain any of it. The movie follows a human police officer and his orc partner after they discover a magic wand, and fight to escape with their lives from various criminal gangs and cults that want to get their hands on it. This quasi-documentary helps answer a bunch of questions that the film left behind.
Dec 21, 2017
Netflix has already ordered a sequel for its fantasy blockbuster Bright
Netflix’s big blockbuster Bright doesn’t debut on the streaming service until December 22nd, but the company is already plotting out its next steps. Bloomberg reports that the company has ordered a sequel to the fantasy cop film, with Will Smith set to star again.Read Article >
Bright is set in an alternate world where fantasy creatures exist and tend to stir up trouble for society. Smith stars as LAPD police officer Daryl Ward, whose partner is an orc named Jakoby (Joel Edgerton). In his review, my colleague Bryan Bishop noted that Bright’s world was clearly designed to set up innumerable sequels, with a big antagonist lurking on the horizon. At last week’s film premiere, producer Eric Newman said there’s “enough material unexplored within the world” to warrant visiting again. Ayers hasn’t ruled out returning to the possible franchise.
Dec 21, 2017
Bright proves that Netflix can do blockbusters — but most blockbusters aren’t that exciting
When Netflix first began producing original television shows, it wasn’t clear how well the service would do. It was easy to think of internet-only video as being on the low end of the content spectrum, but with shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, and countless others, the company has transformed from a streaming service that happens to make some shows on the side to a true prestige television power-player.Read Article >
Its feature film ambitions, on the other hand, haven’t gone as smoothly. Netflix regularly acquires documentaries and arthouse films, and it released the acclaimed Okja earlier in 2017, but it hasn’t really tried to dive into the Hollywood blockbuster business just yet. That changes on December 22nd with the release of Bright. A $90 million-plus fantasy and action adventure film from Suicide Squad director David Ayer, it seems to have a little something for everyone: gritty action beats, a fantastical, magical world full of orcs and elves, and the still-undeniable star power of Will Smith. That’s a lot to throw into a cinematic blender, but Bright undeniably proves that Netflix is capable of churning out the same kind of high-concept, tentpole movies that modern Hollywood is built upon. The downside: it also proves Netflix isn’t immune from Hollywood blockbuster problems.
Dec 19, 2017
How Netflix is trying to rewrite movie marketing with Bright
Any doubts about whether Netflix has effectively established itself as part of the Hollywood community vanish immediately upon stepping into the company’s Los Angeles offices. Two cases full of Emmys greet visitors just inside the lobby of the 14-story tower, situated near eight Netflix-controlled sound stages on the Sunset Bronson Studios lot. In one corner sits the Bluth family banana stand from Arrested Development, while an elaborate projection art piece takes up an entire wall, simulating screens from phones, tablets, televisions, and any other device the service runs on. On the other end, there’s a discreet coffee bar, where bearded creatives discuss the fine art of pitching studio executives. And splashed across a massive video wall is the promotional artwork for what the company hopes will be its next great success: the Will Smith fantasy-action film Bright.Read Article >
While Netflix has undoubtedly cracked the code when it comes to making quality television, movies have been more elusive. The company gobbles up acquisitions at film festivals like Sundance and Toronto, but its insistence on debuting new films on the streaming service and in theaters simultaneously have made theater chains reluctant to screen Netflix films. But that isn’t hampering Netflix’s blockbuster ambitions. The company ponied up more than $90 million to make Bright, which will debut on December 22nd. Directed by Suicide Squad’s David Ayer, it’s the story of a LAPD cop (Smith) who lives in an fantastical world where fairies and magical creatures are commonplace. He’s partnered with an orc cop named Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), who is rejected both by humans and his own kind. When the two stumble upon an elf with a magic wand (Lucy Fry) they have to try to stay alive while figuring out who they can trust.
Jul 23, 2017
Netflix just secretly won San Diego Comic-Con
On the first day of San Diego Comic-Con, director David Ayer took the stage before the massive crowd at Hall H. A year prior, he’d been there to promote Suicide Squad for Warner Bros., but this time he was discussing a different project: the $100 million fantasy-action film Bright. “What’s up, Hall H?” he shouted into the microphone. “This is the house of Netflix! This is Netflix right now, we’re here to represent Netflix!”Read Article >
Jul 20, 2017
Watch the new trailer for Netflix’s $100 million fantasy epic Bright
The first trailer for Netflix’s most expensive original film to date has premiered at San Diego Comic-Con.Read Article >
Bright, from Suicide Squad and End of Watch director David Ayer, is a fantasy epic starring Will Smith as a human cop and Joel Edgerton as some kind of Orc cop. The film takes place in an alternate version of the present day that also involves elves and fairies.
Apr 17, 2017
Netflix is willing to put its films in theaters — but not before online release
What is the role of theaters as streaming platforms become film studios? That question is floating around an anxious film industry as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and other video streaming services rapidly contract talented filmmakers and make aggressive acquisitions at big-name festivals. Amazon has cooperated with theaters, releasing awards-friendly films like Manchester by the Sea and Chi-Raq in cinemas before making them available to subscribers. But Netflix has been doggedly committed to releasing every new film directly onto Netflix, even when it hurts at the Oscars. And today, we got a small explanation why.Read Article >
In Netflix’s shareholder letter, the company delivered the following defense of its release strategy:
Feb 27, 2017
Watch the first trailer for Bright, the Netflix movie starring Will Smith and an orc
Netflix used tonight's Academy Awards to show off the first trailer for Bright, a cop drama set in a version of our world that also contains orcs, elves, and other mystical creatures. The short teaser doesn't give too much away, but provides an idea of how the film will combine gritty realism with fantasy, showing LAPD officer Will Smith clutching a battered-looking broadsword, alongside a shotgun-toting orc, played by Warrior star Joel Edgerton.Read Article >
Netflix spent upwards of $90 million on Bright, helmed by Suicide Squad director David Ayers. That investment that includes $3 million for the script — written by Max Landis — with another $45 million set aside for shooting. The figure represents the streaming service's biggest project so far, and is something of a statement of intent: unlike some of its earlier movie purchases, Bright is a big-budget picture with big names attached, and could be a big draw for Netflix over both competing services and traditional movie theaters.
Mar 10, 2016
Netflix is nearing a deal for Bright, a supernatural cop movie starring Will Smith
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.Read Article >
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.