Netflix is in negotiations to pick up the rights to Beasts of No Nation, the Cary Fukunaga-directed drama starring Idris Elba.
The deal is in the $12 million range and shows how serious Netflix is about entering the movie business. The company is already making original features, including an Adam Sandler slate and a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Sources said that Netflix is planning a major awards push on the drama, which sees Elba as a commander of guerilla force in a West African country who takes a young boy under his wing. The man then begins a process of dehumanizing the boy as he becomes a soldier.
Fukunaga wrote the script and produced the movie, along with Elba, Amy Kaufman, Riva Marker and Daniela Lundberg. Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King of Participant exec produced.
Netflix beat out bids from Fox Searchlight and Focus in the acquisition war, showing how much it wants to have first-rate feature material. On top of the Sandler and Crouching Tiger movies, Netflix is making a new Pee-Wee Herman film, Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, and made a four-picture deal with the Duplass Brothers.
Netflix’s biggest acquisition so far may be Jadotville, a siege film starring Jamie Dornan for which the company paid $18 million during the Berlin Film Festival
WME Global and Craig Emanuel of Loeb & Loeb are making the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.