Warner Bros Drops Andy Serkis’ ‘Mowgli,’ Film Will Go Direct to Netflix Instead

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brian-mcgee - July 30, 2018

If, around the time of the first trailer for Mowgli's release, you found yourself wondering if the world was ready for another "live-action" adaptation of The Jungle Book so soon after Disney's 2016 version, you weren't alone. Apparently Warner Brothers got cold feet in regard to the film's box office prospects and, according to Deadline, has decided to sell the film to Netflix for distribution.

While it's not unprecedented for a film studio to sell one of their completed films to another studio, there are two reasons why this particular example is rather exceptional. First of all, it's never happened with a film of this budgetary scale before. Typically it's a troubled horror movie or some other low budget affair that gets written off in this manner, but this is a major tentpole film with super-expensive motion capture effects.

Secondly, it's the first time Netflix will acquire a film of this caliber to be their own exclusive. Due to the big budget nature of the film and the potential for some great 3D effects, Netflix is currently looking into a way to distribute the film theatrically, at least in a limited release capacity.

The very notion of doing another Jungle Book adaptation so soon after the last seemed foolhardy to say the least, but Netflix is clearly hoping that this will be the start of something big for them. This feels kinda like Netflix extending their middle finger to Disney, once the Mouse House pulls all of their content from the streaming service at the end of this year to start their own in-house service. For their sake, I hope it pays off.

Andy Serkis' Mowgli, featuring the voices of Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Benedict Cumberbatch, will debut on Netflix in 2019.

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