Change of plans!
Warner Bros. had dated "Mowgli" for theatrical release on October 19 of this year. However the live-action/CGI "Jungle Book" movie will now stream sometime next year on Netflix.
This ... feels like a burn.
Netflix picked up the worldwide rights to "Mowgli" in what was called the biggest acquisition of a finished film for the streamer to date.
The film comes with a star-studded voice cast -- Christian Bale as panther Bagheera, Cate Blanchett as snake Kaa, Benedict Cumberbatch as the tiger Shere Khan, Naomie Harris as wolf Nisha, and Andy Serkis himself as Baloo; with Matthew Rhys, Freida Pinto, and young Rohan Chand in human roles.
However, Disney's 2016 "The Jungle Book" was a big success, putting this Warner Bros. film in an awkward spot. As Deadline put it:
This Netflix move helps Andy Serkis and Warner Bros. "get out from under the inevitable stigma that would have haunted a full scale theatrical release of a film that would inevitably be compared to Disney’s 'The Jungle Book,' which grossed $966 million worldwide. At one point, there was a race between that film and 'Mowgli' — both based on Kipling’s public domain work — but it is never good to be runner up, especially when the other one became such a big hit."
As The Hollywood Reporter put it:
"Netflix has made a habit of acquiring films that perhaps studios preferred not to release theatrically. It paid Paramount more than $50 million for 'The Cloverfield Paradox,' which received dismal reviews but caused a splash when Netflix announced during the Super Bowl the film would be available for streaming after the game. Netflix also picked up Michael Pena's sci-fi thriller 'Extinction' in February after Universal had removed it from the schedule without explanation months earlier."
Andy Serkis said he made "Mowgli" with 3D effects he still hopes will be shown off in the theatrical component of Netflix's release plan. There are no details yet on that release plan.
Here's the "Mowgli" trailer:
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Human child Mowgli is raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often harsh rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera, Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own, but the fearsome tiger Shere Khan doesn't take a liking to him. But there may be greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins. Read More