Mowgli sold to Netflix for 2019 release on the streaming service!
In a move that reinforces the new era for studio filmmaking we are in, Warner Bros. has sold the worldwide rights for director Andy Serkis‘ upcoming Mowgli to Netflix. The fresh take on Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book that promises a darker take than the recent Disney movie will no longer be released theatrically on October 19, 2018, and will instead go directly to the streaming service sometime in 2019. Deadline broke the news and spoke to Serkis about having Mowgli sold to Netlfix, as well as his hopes for a theatrical component for the 3D version of the film.
“I’m really excited about Netflix for Mowgli,” Serkis said of his directorial debut. “Now, we avoid comparisons to the other movie and it’s a relief not to have the pressure. I’ve seen the 3D version, and it’s exceptional, a different view from the 2D version, really lush and with great depth, and there will be some kind of theatrical component for that. What excites me most is the forward thinking at Netflix in how to present this, and the message of the movie. 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.”
Blending live action and performance capture, the story follows the upbringing of the human child Mowgli (Rohan Chand) raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often-harsh rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo (Andy Serkis) and a panther named Bagheera (Christian Bale), Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own. All but one: the fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). But there may be greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins. The other story’s central animal characters are: Kaa, the snake (Cate Blanchett); the leader of the wolf pack, Akela (Peter Mullan); the scavenging hyena, Tabaqui (Tom Hollander); Nisha, the female wolf (Naomie Harris), who adopts the baby Mowgli as one of her cubs; Nisha’s mate, Vihaan (Eddie Marsan); and Mowgli’s Brother Wolf (Jack Reynor). Freida Pinto and Matthew Rhys also star.
Walt Disney Pictures rival Jungle Book film, directed by Jon Favreau, grossed over $966 million worldwide in 2016, though Serkis has said his version will distinguish itself.
Mowgli is written by Callie Kloves with Serkis directing and co-producing with Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves. Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) will also give notes on the project as an uncredited advisor. Warner Bros. will give the film an October 19, 2018 release.
What do you think of Warner Bros. having Mowgli sold to Netflix? Will you watch it on the streaming service? Let us know in the comments below!