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There’s been a trend in recent years of movies that were initially planned as traditional theatrical releases being moved to streaming platforms, Netflix in particular. The Irishman, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle and The Cloverfield Paradox are among the most notable examples of this phenomenon, and depending on how things play out, the long-awaited Masters of the Universe reboot could also find itself setting up shop at Netflix.
A Masters of the Universe reboot has been in development in one form or another at Sony for a decade. Although Masters of the Universe is currently set for release in 2021 and has Noah Centineo attached to play He-Man, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman has begun exploring getting some extra cash to make the movie by making it for Netflix instead of throwing it onto the silver screen.
Right now these talks are “preliminary,” but if a deal were to be reached, Sony would become the second studio to make movies that belong exclusively, or almost exclusively, to Netflix, following behind Paramount Pictures. It’s between doing that or Sony finding another studio and financier to partner on Masters of the Universe, which would result in Sony “holding on to various rights and territories.”
While Netflix might be the safer option, given that Sony finally has a version of Masters of the Universe that looks to be moving forward, selling to Netflix could also be seen as “less appealing.” That said, from a synergetic perspective, it would make sense to move the movie to the streaming platform, as it’s home to She-Ra and The Princess of Power and the upcoming He-Man anime series being overseen by Kevin Smith.
This talk of potentially selling Masters of the Universe to Netflix links back to Sony wanting to “bolster its bottom line” following the critical and commercial failure of Men in Black International. Sure the studio has had some success this year (particularly with Spider-Man: Far From Home and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), but Sony’s co-president Josh Greenstein reportedly expressed concern that the studio has been spending too much on marketing.
He-Man was a hot property in the 1980s, but now, releasing Masters of the Universe through the traditional theatrical model is definitely a riskier endeavor. Apparently Sony’s TriStar label is already devoting resources to streaming deals, and since Netflix is moving more into blockbuster territory with movies like 6 Underground and Red Notice, Masters of the Universe might perform better than it if it had to compete with other theatrical releases.
Masters of the Universe isn’t the only movie that’s in the ‘Sony’s selling off projects’ conversation. Originally the studio was meant to be the home of the Valiant Cinematic Universe, with Bloodshot launching the franchise next year. While that movie is still coming out as planned, Sony sold off the next Valiant installment, Harbinger, to Paramount, and it’s looking like the VCU will be set up there instead.
No specific details concerning Masters of the Universe have come out yet, and so far Noah Contineo (who has some Netflix cred through To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) is the only actor attached. Iron Man and Men in Black International duo Art Marcum and Matt Holloway penned the latest draft of the script.
Masters of the Universe is still set to come out on March 5, 2021, but stay tuned to CinemaBlend for any updates, including if it becomes a Netflix-only release. You can keep track of the rest of this year’s releases with our 2019 schedule.