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Netflix Had a Really Great, Game-Changing Week

By Dustin Rowles | Streaming | March 21, 2016 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Streaming | March 21, 2016 |


Drew_Barrymore_netflix.jpg

In spite of the reception of Will Arnett’s dud of a new series, Flaked (or rather, the lack of reception), Netflix nevertheless had a very good week. One of its most popular series, Daredevil, rolled out its second season over the weekend (and we will be talking about it for the next several weeks), The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt debuted its second season trailer, and the streaming service swooped in and picked up The Little Prince after Paramount decided to drop the beautiful, critically well-received animated film only a week before it was scheduled to be released in North American theaters.

Meanwhile, broadcast network ratings continue to suffer. Only three returning scripted shows have actually seen an increase in viewers this year over last (The 100, Empire, and Law & Order: SVU) while Netflix continues to make deals to add more and more series.

The latest addition to Netflix? Santa Clarita Diet starring Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore. That’s a great cast, and if you’re worried that it’ll suck, don’t. It comes from Victor Fresco, the guy behind Better Off Ted. The logline for the comedy, which will debut in 2017, is compelling but vague: “The comedy centers on married couple Joel (Olyphant) and Sheila (Barrymore), realtors leading vaguely discontented lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita — until Sheila goes through a dramatic change that sends both of their lives down a road of death and destruction … but in a good way.”

I’m happy to see Olyphant back on television, and Drew Barrymore doing anything that doesn’t involve Adam Sandler.

Meanwhile, the game-changing news for Netflix was not a television acquisition but a movie deal. The streaming service has committed $90 million for a film starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, which will be directed by David Ayer (Fury, Suicide Squad). In a bidding war, Netflix beat out movie studios by paying Max Landis $3 million for the script for Bright (Landis weirdly continues to fail upward).

The film, a “tentpole” with franchise potential, is being described (pejoratively, in comments) as End of Watch with orcs. It is supposed to get a day-and-date release, meaning that it will debut in theaters and on Netflix on the same day, though the theatrical release will probably be limited (many of the theater chains will not screen films unless they get an exclusive window of at least one month).

With the commitment to Bright and the $60 million the streaming service paid for the rights to Brad Pitt’s War Machine, Netflix has clearly decided that it not only wants to take down terrestrial television, but the movie studio system, as well.

Not everything was rosy for Netflix last week, however. It announced that Chelsea Handler’s next show for Netflix will be released an episode at a time on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Meanwhile, in spite of literally showing her ass all over the Internet, Handler can’t buy press coverage. I don’t think Netflix was the proper outlet for late-night television host.


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