Warner Bros. is certainly in a tight spot. After Batman V Superman’s massive second weekend drop, the company is pretty much scrambling to reassure their financial success. Recent rumors suggest that Warner Bros.’ knee-jerk reaction to this was to focus all of their resources on their tentpole franchises, abandoning their smaller-scale and original releases. Of course, house favorites like Christopher Nolan, Clint Eastwood, and Ben Affleck will still make movies for them, but smaller films like Midnight Special may be denied by WB in the near future. One of the biggest alleged casualties from WB’s restructuring is the live action adaptation of Death Note, which was recently dropped by the company. Fortunately, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and there is still hope for the film.
According to The Wrap, Netflix is currently in the process of securing the film rights to the Death Note manga series. Director Adam Wingard (The Guest, You’re Next) is still attached to the film along with actors Nat Wolff and Margaret Qualley. According to The Warp’s sources, Death Note’s production was on the verge of beginning when Warner Bros. suddenly decided to pull the plug. However, since Warner Bros. had been working with the filmmakers for a while, they allowed them to sell the film to another studio. In the course of just two days, several studios lined up to secure the rights.
Netflix has allegedly agreed to fund Wingard’s film on the condition that he enters exclusive negotiations with the streaming service. Insiders are confident that the deal will go through, but the company is currently on a retreat in Cuba, so they aren’t able to comment on the situation.
So while Reed Hastings and the gang sip mojitos in Castroland, the fate of Death Note is still up in the air. Fortunately, unlike many Hollywood studios, Netflix is not known for meddling with the creative process. Their commitment to creative freedom has brought us some kick-ass movies and shows like Beasts of No Nation and House of Cards respectively, so Wingard could bring us a truly great adaptation.
Yes, the adaptation will still have a whitewashed cast, but the lack of backstage fat cat meddling could finally give us a good American manga adaptation. So Mr. Hastings, while you’re munching on the world’s best ham and cheese sandwich, please consider giving Wingard to right to make the movie he wants.