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Platforms like Netflix have fundamentally altered the way in which we consume our entertainment. Though we used to have film and television, we now have a medium that lies somewhere in the middle and offers considerably more room for experimentation and innovation. That's why it is such a perfect home for a film like Adam Wingard's Death Note, and it turns out that the streaming service saved the highly anticipated (and risky) adaptation when Warner Bros. opted out of the project.
For a while, everything seemed like it was going incredibly well. Adam Wingard had met with Warner Bros., and Death Note looked like a surefire collaboration between him and the studio. However, even after hashing out most of the essential pre-production details, Wingard revealed that he eventually received a call saying that WB decided to put the film "in turnaround" over a weekend. From there, the You're Next director explained how Death Note wound up at Netflix:
Well, first off, that's the first time I've ever heard of a studio doing anything over the weekend. But it was really shocking. It just came out of nowhere. I thought initially, There's no way this is going to happen, nobody's going to pick this thing up, because it's just such a bizarre film, and it's not a cheap one. So, they started shopping it around town. There was interest, but some studios wanted to do it for less, and we'd already budgeted it to within an inch of its life. But, within a day or two, Netflix raised their hand, and said that they were interested. So, this movie literally exists because we're in a very specific time, where a company like Netflix is looking for projects like this, that do have a mainstream appeal, but are a little off-center and doing something different.
Adam Wingard's recent comments to EW about the evolution of his Death Note film arguably encapsulate one of Netflix's calling cards from the last few years. This is a dark and visceral fantasy that a traditional studio might consider a gamble if it shot for an R-rating. By contrast, a platform like Netflix doesn't need to worry about content restrictions or ticket sales. The streaming service has become one of the many platforms for off-kilter projects that might not get a chance to exist in traditional film or television formats, which seems like a perfect fit for something like Death Note.
For those of you unfamiliar with the property, Death Note is an adaptation of a hit manga series of the same name. The story centers on a boy named Light who receives a book that can kill anyone whose name is written inside of it. The film also Nat Wolff, Willem Dafoe, and Get Out's Keith Stanfield. Check out a trailer for the upcoming movie below.
Death Note will make its Netflix debut later this month on August 25. As for 2017's theatrically released movies, take a look at CinemaBlend's comprehensive movie premiere guide to keep yourself up to date on all of the most highly anticipated silver screen releases.