News came out recently that Ryan Reynolds is joining Red Notice, the action heist film from Skyscraper writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber that stars Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot. In that same report, it was revealed that the star-studded film was leaving Universal Pictures and will instead be distributed by Netflix. Red Notice represents a huge financial commitment on the part of the streaming service, and in a statement, Dwayne Johnson praised Netflix’s dominance, saying:
I admire the ambition of Netflix to become one of the biggest movie studios in the world. Their original content generates critical acclaim and invites full collaboration on every level of production. Their unbridled enthusiasm for Red Notice is equally matched by their commitment to entertaining audiences on an international scale.
Dwayne Johnson personifies ambition, with his own driving him to become the biggest movie star in the world, so he appreciates Netflix’s aims to become its own massive movie studio and not just a distribution service. Netflix seeks to dominate and is doing so with critically acclaimed original content meant to entertain subscribers around the globe. Red Notice will now be a part of that stable.
In his statement to Deadline, Dwayne Johnson also praises Netflix’s enthusiasm for Red Notice, an enthusiasm that didn’t start recently. Red Notice was at the center of a fierce bidding war last year with Netflix, the runner-up to Universal Pictures. When Rawson Marshall Thurber completed his screenplay, complete with a budget for the film, the filmmakers reportedly sensed hesitation on the part of Universal.
Due to a clause in the original deal, a window opened up and they were able to show the script to Netflix. The streaming service agreed to everything the filmmakers needed, showing that enthusiasm for the international action thriller that Dwayne Johnson spoke of and scooping up the project.
The initial pitch deal included a $20 million salary for Dwayne Johnson and an eight-figure salary for Thurber, and I imagine Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds don’t come cheap either. Red Notice’s production budget is reportedly in the $130 million range. Netflix found a way to make the numbers work in what is perhaps its biggest commitment to date. This speaks to the company’s confidence in the film and its ability to become a franchise with worldwide appeal.
This investment runs contrary to the recent report that Netflix would be cutting back on risky big-budget projects like Triple Frontier. Maybe this newfound frugality doesn’t apply to a project like Red Notice, which stars Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds, and therefore seems about as safe a bet to attract eyeballs as you could make.
A lot of actors and filmmakers have been flocking to Netflix to make content for the service in recent years and some of that may have to do with the collaborative production process that Dwayne Johnson praises here. This will mark Dwayne Johnson’s first big project at Netflix and the superstar seems to be excited for the possibilities for Red Notice.
Red Notice is described as a globetrotting action-adventure film that centers around the pursuit of the world’s most wanted art thief. Netflix has set a 2020 production start date for the film. Red Notice was originally slated to release on November 13, 2020 under Universal, but there's no word as of yet when it might arrive on Netflix.