Netflix pays $90 million for Will Smith fantasy crime drama Bright

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Earlier this month, it was reported that Suicide Squad director David Ayer would reunite with leading man Will Smith for the upcoming fantasy cop drama Bright, based on a script penned by Chronicle and American Ultra screenwriter Max Landis. That project just got a lot more interesting, though, with the announcement this week that the film would premiere on Netflix, thanks to an investment by the streaming service that makes the film its biggest project to date.

Netflix reportedly won a bidding war for Bright by agreeing to spend $90 million on the film — significantly more than the cost of any of the company’s original projects so far.

According to Deadline, the R-rated film was a highly sought-after project, with Warner Bros. and MGM teaming up to bid on it, among other suitors. Along with submitting the largest bid, Netflix also arranged a unique deal to ensure that all of the principals involved in the project would see a return similar to what the film would receive as a theatrical release. It’s unknown at this point whether Bright will get a theatrical release, or be the subject of another boycott by the large theater chains — as was the case for Beasts of No Nation — due to its simultaneous release on Netflix.

Set to be directed by Ayer and star Smith and Joel Edgerton (The Gift), Bright takes place in a world where orcs and other fantastic creatures exist alongside humans. The film follows an orc cop, and is expected to begin shooting this fall in Los Angeles. The story has been compared favorably to Ayer’s previous, critically acclaimed 2012 drama End of Watch.

During the first week of March, it was reported that filming on a potential Suicide Squad sequel was scheduled so as not to conflict with production on Bright.

While developing the script for Bright, Landis has occasionally shared some info about the project on Twitter, including pages from the script. Back in August 2015, he posted the following page from his work-in-progress screenplay:

There’s no release date set for Bright at this point, and the only confirmed cast so far are Edgerton and Smith. More information and news is likely to be announced soon, now that the project has found a studio.

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