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Netflix Acquires the Worldwide Rights to Andy Serkis’ ‘Mowgli’ Film

Photo: Warner Bros./Mowgli Trailer Screenshot

Mowgli is on the move!

Andy Serkis’ darker retelling of the classic Jungle Book stories from Rudyard Kipling has found a new home. The film was originally intended to be released theatrically from Warner Bros., however, Deadline reports that Mowgli has since found a new home with the streaming platform Netflix, which as acquired the worldwide rights to the film. This acquisition takes Netflix to a whole new level of production value and is their largest deal yet.

At one point during production, Warner Bros. found themselves in a neck in neck race with Disney to see who could finish their live-action versions of the Jungle Book stories first. Ultimately, Disney won that race, but now that Mowgli is heading to Netflix, the film hopes to avoid some comparisons to the Disney version.

Deadline spoke with Serkis who directed and starred in the upcoming film and he expressed nothing but excitement regarding the acquisition. Serkis said:

“I’m really excited about Netflix for Mowgli. Now, we avoid comparisons to the other movie and it’s a relief not to have the pressure. I’ve seen the 3D version, and it’s exceptional, a different view from the 2D version, really lush and with great depth, and there will be some kind of theatrical component for that. What excites me most is the forward thinking at Netflix in how to present this, and the message of the movie. They understand this is a darker telling that doesn’t fit it into a four-quadrant slot. It’s really not meant for young kids, though I think it’s possible that 10 or above can watch it. It was always meant to be PG-13, and this allows us to go deeper, with darker themes, to be scary and frightening in moments. The violence between animals is not gratuitous, but it’s definitely there. This way of going allows us to get the film out without compromise.

I think this is their largest acquisition, it’s a big movie, but I never looked at it as a big blockbuster movie. It’s hard to quantify. It has the scale of a blockbuster, but it’s somewhere between Life of Pi and an Apes movie. It has that reality to it, same as Okja had. We are talking about 2019 and circling dates. Netflix has allowed the filmmaking that I wanted to do, to exist and they’ve created an atmosphere for me kind of storytelling I set out to do. “

What Serkis has set out to do is to tell the familiar story but in a whole new way! The first trailer for the film seems much darker than anything we have seen before while maintaining the traditional story of a human boy named Mowgli (played by Rohan Chand) who grows up in the jungle raised by wolves. He believes himself to be a wolf until that reality is turned upside down by Bagheera (a panther played by Christain Bale). Bagheera shows him the way to a nearby village of humans all the while, Mowgli is in danger as he is being hunted by tiger Shere Khan (played by Benedict Cumberbatch).

In addition to Chand, Bale, and Cumberbatch, the film stars Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, Peter Mullan, Naomie Harris, Matthew Rhys and Freida Pinto. Additionally, Serkis is also starring in the film as Baloo the bear.

Mowgli, which was originally set to be released in theaters in October of this year, will now be available on Netflix sometime in 2019.

What do you think about Mowgli’s movie from a Warner Bros. theatrical release to Netflix’s streaming platform? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.