Streaming service Netflix has paid big bucks to debut Beasts of No Nation, a feature film starring Idris Elba about a West African child soldier.
The fact the film debuts in select theatres at the same time means it should still be able to quality for Oscars 2016 nominations, with buzz around Beasts already significant.
Netflix has talked of “disrupting” the traditional feature film windows after launching a strategy to move into exclusive movies. An Oscar win would be perhaps the most significant statement it could make in this vein.
Reports are claiming Netflix outbid various rivals by paying US$12 million for the rights. This comes after it paid around US$17 million for exclusive first-run rights to Jamie Dornan’s upcoming Jadotville.
Beasts is based on Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala’s novel about a child soldier taken from his family to fight in a civil war. Elba (pictured above left in Luther) plays a warlord who instructs the boy in the ways of combat.
Red Crown Productions produces, with Pivot owner Participant Media attached as a co-financer.
Amy Kaufman, Elba and Fukunaga produce alongside Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Riva Marker and Dan Crown for Red Crown. Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King are executive producers for Participant Media and Donna Gigliotti is executive producer for another attached prodcos, Levantine Films.
“Beasts of No Nation is a powerful film that unfolds beautifully in the hands of director Cary Fukunaga with Idris Elba delivering a career-defining performance,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, “We are so proud to bring a film of this calibre exclusively to Netflix members around the world at the same time as it appears in select theatres.”
Red Crown co-founder Taplin Lundberg said having Netflix’s 50 million eyeball-worldwide reach was “beyond” her “wildest dreams”.
“The Netflix team is bold and has the same pioneering spirit about distribution that I like to think we had about making the film in the jungles of Ghana,” she added.