Netflix Outbids Hollywood Studios for Idris Elba Drama ‘Beasts of No Nation’

Cary Fukunaga directed the child soldier movie after wrapping the first season of HBO’s “True Detective”

Last Updated: March 2, 2015 @ 5:45 PM

Netflix is on the verge of closing a $12 million deal for worldwide rights to Cary Fukunaga’s African drama “Beasts of No Nation,” which stars Idris Elba, an individual familiar with the negotiations has told TheWrap.

Representatives for Netflix and WME Global, which is negotiating the deal on behalf of the filmmakers, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

TheWrap reported at Sundance that Netflix was willing to overspend to land top-tier acquisition titles, and it has certainly outbid major studios for “Beasts of No Nation,” which is expected to be a strong awards contender.

Netflix is planning to give “Beasts of No Nation” a major awards push, though it’s unclear whether the company will partner with a theatrical distributor or release the film in theaters on its own.

Red Crown Productions and Participant Media co-financed the film, which was executive produced by Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King, as well as Laura Bickford. The producers include Amy Kaufman, Fukunaga, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Riva Marker, Elba and Daniel Crown.

Elba’s last drama set in Africa, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” grossed only $8 million in the U.S., though it more than doubled that haul overseas.

Just two weeks after the Oscars, the upcoming awards season is shaping up to be a busy one for Participant, which is also involved in Steven Spielberg‘s untitled Cold War thriller, the Sandra Bullock film “Our Brand Is Crisis,” the Michael Fassbender movie “The Light Between Oceans” and Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight,” which follows the Boston Globe reporters who exposed the Catholic Church’s cover-up of sexual abuse against minors.

Netflix has been ramping up its feature slate, as it is now home to Adam Sandler‘s “Ridiculous Six,” a new Pee-wee Herman movie and The Weinstein Company’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel.

WME represents Fukunaga along with Anonymous Content.

The news was first reported by Deadline.