Netflix Buys ‘Mowgli’ From Warner Bros. Including Worldwide Rights

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There are few companies with more purchasing power than Netflix. The streaming service consistently acquires new properties with its seemingly never-ending cash stream. This not only includes television shows, but has recently expanded to feature films as well. Netflix planned to release “ROMA,” “22 July,” and “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” this year. With today’s news, they’re not finished. In a surprising move from the streaming service, Netflix just acquired “Mowgli” from Warner Bros. 

According to Deadline, Warner Bros just sold the worldwide distribution rights to “Mowgli,” a movie based on “The Jungle Book” by Richard Kipling. Netflix will not release the film in October as Warner Bros had planned. They are eying a 2019 release. Andy Serkis directs the film and also appears in the film as Baloo. The cast includes Benedict CumberbatchChristian Bale, Naomie Harris, and Cate Blanchett. 

Serkis commented on the acquisition:

They understand this is a darker telling that doesn’t fit it into a four quadrant slot. It’s really not meant for young kids, though I think it’s possible that 10 or above can watch it… I think this is their largest acquisition, it’s a big movie. But I never looked at it as a big blockbuster movie. It’s hard to quantify. It has the scale of a blockbuster, but it’s somewhere between ‘Life of Pi’ and an ‘Apes’ movie. It has that reality to it, same as ‘Okja’ had. We are talking about 2019 and circling dates. Netflix has allowed the film making that I wanted to do to exist, and they’ve created an atmosphere for me kind of storytelling I set out to do.”

This is an unusual situation, as Warner Bros. had been pushing the film along. Many were predicting the film to grab a visual effects nomination. We here at AwardsCircuit had it at number 2 in the rankings. It looks like the visual effects race could take a turn without “Mowgli” in the race.

What do you think of the of “Mowgli” for Netflix? Does this help lend credibility to the streaming service as a place for blockbusters? Let us know in the comments below!