Hollywood is rubbing off on Netflix.
The streaming-video service’s upcoming original movie, Six Underground, has all the makings of an overblown popcorn flick.
Explosion extraordinaire Michael Bay is directing, action star Ryan Reynolds is leading, and the witty writers of the Deadpool films, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, are penning the script for the movie, which is about a group of Batman wannabes. That may be oversimplifying things, but Six Underground is reportedly about six billionaires who fake their own deaths and “form an elite team to take down bad guys.” Expect gratuitous lens flare, crude humor, and vigilante justice, coming to an app near you.
Six Underground, which will be co-produced by Netflix and Jack Reacher and Mission: Impossible—Fallout studio Skydance Media, is slated to start production in the summer and hit Netflix next year.
With a rumored budget of around $150 million, it’ll be one of Netflix’s biggest projects yet. Bright, a sci-fi-fantasy epic starring Will Smith and directed by David Ayer, was Netflix’s first big-budget film, with about $90 million in production costs.
The streaming service plans to spend $8 billion on content this year and release 80 films. It’s reaching all over the map, and blurring the lines between made-for-Netflix movies and theatrical releases, to see what works for its audience.
For the uninitiated, Reynolds excels at blending action and humor, as best seen in his portrayal of the mouthy mercenary Deadpool. Reese and Wernick are the irreverent writing duo behind movies like Deadpool and Zombieland. And Bay is best known for honing his talent of blowing things up in big-budget franchises like Bad Boys and Transformers.
The most recent movie he directed, Transformers: The Last Knight, was a critical and commercial failure in the US, but made a profit overseas. Netflix may have been drawn to the director’s international appeal, given that half of its subscribers are now abroad.
The streaming service has a penchant for getting users to watch movies they might not waste their time (or money) on in theaters. Bright was abhorred by critics but fans dug it. Netflix kept The Cloverfield Paradox from flopping by buying it off Paramount, and also took over overseas distribution of Annihilation, a Skydance-produced film that did poorly in US theaters. But perhaps the best evidence of the site’s detachment from high-brow features: Films by comedian Adam Sandler are among Netflix’s most-watched.