Netflix has been going on quite the shopping spree lately, setting up production deals and acquiring all sorts of original films. It’s easy to suspect the company’s desire to burn through so much cash so quickly is some sort of stunt à la Brewster’s Millions in which Netflix only gets more subscribers if it spends all the money it has. But no, it just loves original content—and paying top dollar for it. Now, or rather, three months from now, we can start seeing the results of all that buying power. Deadline reports the streaming service has announced release dates for its upcoming slate of films, and the good news is, that Adam Sandler thing isn’t arriving until the end of the year.
First out of the gate will be the Idris Elba-starring Beasts Of No Nation, the deeply serious drama about a young boy taken from his family and pressed into service as a child soldier. Directed by True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga, this is clearly Netflix’s bid to move into prestige drama territory, as its October 16 premiere will be accompanied by a same-day limited theatrical release in order to qualify the movie for awards consideration. Presumably, Netflix will buy a few tickets for friends, but it’s debatable how much the company cares if the film succeeds in theaters.
Next up will be The Ridiculous Six, the Adam Sandler movie about offending Native Americans, as well as anyone else who isn’t a fan of racism. At this point, there’s not much to say about this film, given how much bad press it has already received. Maybe we can talk about Sandler’s seemingly bottomless well of contempt for his audience? That seems worth mentioning. Hey, we’ll always have Happy Gilmore.
Netflix then will turn to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend for its first film release of 2016. No date has been set yet, but it will come out sometime in the first few months of the year. This is the movie that made all the theater chains angry with its first-out-of-the-gate announcement of pursuing a same-day theatrical and streaming debut. Despite several sources claiming it was just a publicity stunt, the fact that Beasts Of No Nation seems to be on track to actually execute such a move suggests the theaters may have lost this round, suffering the business struggle equivalent of a wirework kick to the head.
Finally, March 2016 will see the release of Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, the movie where Paul Reubens finally returns his man-child creation to the small screen (not including that HBO airing of his Broadway show). Hopefully the secret word will be ”comeback,” and not “disappointing, too-late follow-up.” Our fingers are crossed for the former, as no doubt Netflix’s are as well. Though if that doesn’t work out, there’s surely some other property Netflix can lavish an exorbitant amount of money on. Say, a roughly $40 million Brad Pitt war satire?