In a pretty unprecedented move, Andy Serkis' directorial debut, Mowgli, was snatched up by Netflix, just as it was about to receive a theatrical release from Warner Brothers this fall, writes The Hollywood Reporter.
Based on Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, the movie is the second mo-capped adaption of the classic work in the last two years. The first was Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book for Disney, which opened to critical acclaim and box office success in 2016. It also took home the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
Serkis' version, on the other hand, is a much darker, more faithful spin of Kipling's stories and won't contain any catchy musical numbers. Even without "Bare Necessities," you can marvel at the incredible cast, which includes: Christian Bale (Bagheera), Cate Blanchett (Kaa), Benedict Cumberbatch (Shere Khan), Naomie Harris (Nisha), Andy Serkis (Baloo), Peter Mullan (Akela), Eddie Marsan (Vihaan), Jack Reynor (Brother Wolf), and Tom Hollander (Tabaqui).
The human actors are: Rohan Chand (Mowgli), Matthew Rhys (John Lockwood), and Freida Pinto (Messua).
While no explicit reason was given for the last-minute acquisition, it could be that Warner got nervous about trying to compete with the existing live-action movie from Disney. It's a logical fear, especially when you consider that The Jungle Book made more than $960 million at the worldwide box office.
The studio even had to change the project's title last winter when it became clear that it would be impossible to avoid comparison between the two. This is sadly how it goes, a real shame since Serkis' film looks like a very solid piece of cinema. As the king of motion capture technology, he knows how to bring these animals to vivid life.
Originally scheduled for a theatrical release this October, Mowgli will now stream on Netflix at an unspecified date in 2019. Meanwhile, Disney's already working on a Jungle Book sequel with Jon Favreau back at the helm.