Netflix Closes $90 Million Deal for Will Smith, Joel Edgerton Cop Thriller ‘Bright’

David Ayer will direct from a script by his fellow producer Max Landis, who will receive $3 million for his spec

As TheWrap reported it would last week, Netflix has finished acquiring David Ayer‘s “Bright” in a deal worth more than $90 million that saw the streaming service beat out several major studios for the Will Smith-Joel Edgerton cop thriller, according to insiders.

Netflix has agreed to pay Max Landis $3 million for his original screenplay, which is incredibly rare in today’s Hollywood, when most spec scripts rarely go for north of $1 million. Landis and Ayer will produce “Bright” with Eric Newman and Bryan Unkeless, and the project is intended to launch a franchise.

The “Bright” deal boasts an intriguing structure, as Netflix has agreed to shoot the film for $45 million, with the other $45 million going towards talent salaries and buying out Smith’s typical back-end fee. The eye-popping figure doesn’t include Netflix’s standard P&A commitment.

Netflix prevailed over Warner Bros./MGM and PalmStar’s Kevin Frakes, whose bids offered a traditional theatrical release. “Bright” will receive a limited, day-and-date theatrical release under the terms of the Netflix deal, according to an insider, but the goal is to lure new subscribers to the streaming service, not deliver a huge opening weekend figure. The company can afford to overpay for movies since its disruptive model doesn’t rely on ticket sales.

Netflix has shelled out for premium packages before, having beaten out several studios for distribution rights to David Michod‘s “War Machine” starring Brad Pitt — an A-lister like Smith.

Smith and Ayer will shoot “Bright” this fall in Los Angeles before returning to Warner Bros. for a planned sequel to “Suicide Squad.” Landis’ directorial debut “Me Him Her” is currently available in select theaters and on VOD.

Deadline first reported the $90 million budget figure.

 

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