Streaming content king Netflix has become known for making bold moves into the original content game. With critically-acclaimed series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Oscar-nominated documentaries like The Square, and an upcoming four-picture deal with funnyman Adam Sandler, the company has barnstormed its way to over 62 million subscribers worldwide.
So, it stands to reason that the company would continue to invest heavily in original content. What wasn’t known was how far the company would go to acquire top talent.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix earlier this month spent $60 million to acquire Brad Pitt’s Afghanistan war satire War Machine.
The film, produced under Pitt’s own Plan B production shingle, is based on the 2012 book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan by journalist Michael Hastings. Pitt is set to play Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan who was famously forced to resign after making disparaging remarks about Vice President Joe Biden and the Obama administration in a 2010 Rolling Stone article.
Pitt and director David Michod (The Rover) reportedly wanted to deliberately make War Machine a satirical comedy, nothing like last year’s Clint Eastwood blockbuster American Sniper.
According to THR, New Regency and RatPac Entertainment were all set to make the film alongside Pitt’s Plan B, but the movie’s financiers wanted the budget lowered from its $60-$70 million target. Pitt and Michod wanted to keep the relatively high budget and opened up the project to other offers. Netflix reportedly picked up the film on June 8.
War Machine hasn’t even begun filming yet, but one unnamed source close to the film told THR that the move makes sense for Netflix.
“It’s great for the specialty film business, since people might be more willing to see challenging, liberal-leaning material in the comfort of their own home [rather] than in a movie theater,” an insider told the outlet. “More people might actually see the movie this way.”
If accurate, the $60 million investment by Netflix represents the company’s biggest investment in a single original project to date. The film will reportedly shoot in August for a 2016 release date on Netflix.
Netflix stock is hovering around record highs.