Netflix has secured the rights to female-driven action film Gunpowder Milkshake, winning what was reportedly a competitive bidding war with other streamers and studios. The film was originally developed by STXfilms, who have retained the Canada/Latin America/China rights, while StudioCanal will release the film theatrically in territories such as the UK, France, and Germany.
The film stars Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Angela Bassett, Paul Giamatti, Carla Gugino, and Michelle Yeoh. It revolves around three generations of female assassins who fight to stop a vicious cycle of violence that has haunted their lives, with the action taking place over the course of one night.
Navot Papushado, who previously helmed acclaimed genre-bending thriller Big Bad Wolves, is directing. This will be his first English-language film.
Netflix has reportedly paid eight figures for the project. The deal makes more sense with the additional news that STXfilms and StudioCanal are already developing a sequel, which gives Netflix another shot at a franchise they so desperately crave. Earlier this year they paid around $450 million for the two upcoming Knives Out sequels.
This acquisition also makes sense because Gunpowder Milkshake sounds similar to some of Netflix’s most successful action films, like the Charlize Theron-led The Old Guard and Extraction with Chris Hemsworth, the latter of which has its own sequel in development.
Hybrid release plans like this – with a theatrical rollout in some territories and a direct-to-streaming release in others – have become more common since the pandemic began, with HBO Max leading the way with their 2021 releases being released in cinemas and on streaming on the same day.
While HBO Max have pledged to go back to the old method once 2021 concludes, companies like Netflix will likely continue with similar strategies. In the past, the streaming giant would never agree to any of their films having a theatrical release, fearing that it would take away potential profits from them and not drive subscriber growth nearly as much.
But once they acquiesced to auteur filmmakers who wanted their movies in cinemas, the company has been more open to different types of release strategies. Expect to see more deals like this one in the future.