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Netflix Pays $90M for Will Smith Crime Fantasy Bright

By Brian Gallagher — March 20th, 2016

Earlier this month, a hot new sci-fi project came on the market entitled Bright, which has Will Smith and Joel Edgerton attached to star and David Ayer (Suicide Squad) directing from a script by Max Landis (American Ultra). That report revealed that Warner Bros. would be the likely home for this project, and that they want to get production started this year so Will Smith and David Ayer could reunite again for Suicide Squad 2. As it turns out, the project sparked a massive bidding war, and Netflix emerged as the winner, with Deadline reporting that the streaming service will be committing $90 million to the project, which includes a whopping $3 million for Max Landis' script alone, the largest spec script deal in several years.

The report reveals that the movie itself will cost just $45 million to shoot, with the rest of Netflix's $90 million commitment likely going towards talent fees and securing their back-end payments. While it's possible that the movie could have a limited theatrical release, like last year's Beasts of No Nation, Netflix's model eliminates back-end residuals. The streaming service paid just a third of Bright's $90 million for their new movie War Machine, starring Brad Pitt.

Netflix's acquisition ends a two-week bidding war, which saw Warner Bros. team up with MGM, who were willing to pay up to $50 million for the project. Kevin Scott Frakes' PalmStar offered $4 million for Max Landis' script and a total commitment of $60 million, with both companies wanting to make Bright as a traditional theatrical feature. David Ayer and Max Landis are also producing with Eric Newman and Bryan Unkeless.

The story is said to be similar to David Ayer's 2012 cop thriller End of Watch, but it's set in a world where Orcs and fairies live alongside humans. Production is scheduled to begin this fall in Los Angeles. The location was important to the director, since he has filmed End of Watch, Training Day (which he wrote the screenplay for), Harsh Times and Street Kings in the City of Angels. No release date has been given at this time, but we'll keep you posted with more updates.

Will Smith and David Ayer's Suicide Squad hits theaters in August, with the actor and director expected to shoot Suicide Squad 2 sometime in 2017. Will Smith is currently shooting Warner Bros.' Collateral Beauty alongside Edward Norton and Keira Knightley, which is set for release on December 16. What do you think about Netflix shelling out $90 million to produce Bright?

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