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March 20, 2016

Netflix reportedly lands Will Smith cop thriller 'Bright' in $90M megadeal

Streaming giant lands David Ayer-directed project after two-week bidding war

After an intense bidding war, global streaming giant Netflix has reportedly obtained the rights to 'Bright,' a genre-bending cop thriller whose cast will be led by stars Will Smith and Joel Edgerton.

The deal represents a massive coup for Netflix, which will reportedly spend upwards of $90 million for the David Ayer-directed feature and will pay screenwriter Max Landis more than $3 million for the script, according to Deadline. That makes it one of the most lucrative spec deals for a writer in recent memory.

Major film studios, including a Warner Bros-MGM pairing and PalmStar, vied with Netflix to obtain 'Bright' based on the anticipated summer success of 'Suicide Squad,' which will put the duo of Ayer and Smith on full display.

'Bright' is expected to evolve the cop thriller genre by infusing it with elements of fantasy. Netflix paid top dollar for the project because of its potential to spawn a franchise. While there may be a traditional theatrical release for the film, Netflix will primarily promote the film as a streaming feature and follow-up to David Michod's 'War Machine,' an upcoming comedy war film starring and produced by Brad Pitt for Netflix.

The R-rated 'Bright' will likely bear similarities to the action-packed 'Men in Black' franchise, giving Netflix an opportunity in thematic territory it hasn't yet explored. As with Ayer's previous work as a writer and later as a director ('Training Day,' 'Harsh Times,' 'End of Watch'), 'Bright' will take place in Los Angeles and is expected to begin filming in Fall 2016.