How ‘Monkey Man’ Went From Netflix Roadkill to Universal’s Theatrical Event

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Political undertones in the film likely complicated matters for Netflix — and then Jordan Peele stepped in

“Monkey Man"
“Monkey Man,” directed by Dev Patel (Chris Smith/TheWrap)

Dev Patel’s directorial debut, “Monkey Man,” is one of the must-see movies of the spring, and it’s easy to see why. Universal Pictures’ high adrenaline, hard-edged action release, which hits 3,000 screens this weekend, has one of the coolest trailers of the year and received a rapturous response when it premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival last month, where video quickly circulated of Patel moved to tears by a standing ovation.

But the English-language, Indian cast movie almost never made it here. The independent feature was bought for $30 million during production by Netflix, which then dropped the film without giving a clear reason why.


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