Report: Netflix eyeing unconventional deal for Natalie Portman sci-fi thriller Annihilation

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Dec 7, 2017, 6:48 PM EST (Updated)

According to a report by Deadline, Netflix is close to reaching a deal with Paramount and Skydance, which would allow Alex Garland's upcoming Annihilation movie to stream internationally just 17 days after premiering in America on Feb. 23, 2018.

The sci-fi- thriller starring Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac will be getting a regular theatrical release in the U.S., Canada, and China. Directed by Ex Machina's Garland, the movie is based on the first book in Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy. Portman plays a biologist who embarks on an all-female expedition into a strange environment known as Area X.

In order for this agreement to go through, Netflix must pay a majority of the movie's budget to Paramount/Skydance. The rationale over this unique distribution is that the film would make most of its box-office sales domestically, and streaming it internationally would provide a competitive edge in overseas markets.

While Garland's directorial debut of Ex Machina was critically acclaimed, it made just a little over $11 million internationally, and less than $40 million overall against a $15 million budget. If the arrangement goes through, the studio makes back most of its initial investment, as well as any box-office proceeds from the theatrical run and a wider audience in other countries.

This is Netflix's second deal to release a movie a few weeks after its theatrical debut, the first being the Shaft sequel Son of Shaft.


In other Netflix dealmaking news today, the streaming service has reached a major multi-year deal with Stranger Things producer and Real Steel director Shawn Levy and his production company 21 Laps, who will exclusively produce original shows for Netflix.

"My aspiration for 21 Laps has always been to create content that is eclectic, bold, humanist and surprising," said Levy. "As such, Netflix is the perfect home for us and our collaborators. My partners Dan Levine and Dan Cohen, along with President of Television Josh Barry and the rest of our 21 Laps colleagues and I, can’t wait to craft and usher more singular shows into the world with this empowering platform and partner.”

“Shawn and 21 Laps are courageous and adept storytellers who lean into risk both narratively and by nurturing great young talent,” added Cindy Holland, vice president, original content for Netflix. ”They have an admirable track record for telling ambitious stories that have incredible heart and which resonate with audiences all over the world.”

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