Just a few weeks ago, globetrotting action adventure Red Notice was still in development at Universal with Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot set to star. Written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber's (Dodgeball, Central intelligence) Red Notice was the subject of a bidding war last year which was ultimately won by Universal (apparently Netflix came in second place). However, Universal is no longer moving forward with the project as Netflix has swooped in a picked up the movie, and added Ryan Reynolds into the mix.
According to Deadline, once Rawson Marshall Thurber turned in a script with an estimated budget "the filmmakers sensed hesitation from Universal in a meeting late last month, even though the studio had dated the picture for November 13, 2020." Not wanting the project to stall, Thurber showed a finished script to Netflix two weeks ago, and a deal was struck with Universal to take Red Notice off their hands.
Netflix has pulled off what Deadline describes as its "biggest commitment to a feature film" by nabbing a high-profile property with a cast of globally known movie stars. It remains unclear why Universal had pause for concern as the cast alone was surely a license to print money. It's a big deal for Netflix as Red Notice is by far their most high-profile project to date. Unlike theatrically released films that pay a smaller amount upfront for a healthy share of the profits, Netflix pays out everything upfront. Johnson had a locked in $22 million fees for Red Notice ($1 million for his social media promotion), plus a share of the box office depending on how much it makes. Add Gadot and Reynolds' salaries in, and this could be the most expensive Netflix movie ever made.
We'll be seeing Ryan Reynolds exclusively on Netflix later this year with Michael Bay's action thriller Six Underground. In a lengthy statement here's what one man marketing machine Dwayne Johnson had to say;
“With Red Notice, our goal at Seven Bucks Productions was to break down traditional barriers and create a true global event for the audience. Netflix has illustrated that they are the perfect partners to accomplish this goal.
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.
As the landscape of movies, distribution and audience consumption continue to evolve; our Seven Bucks focus is to continue to find the best platform and partners to thrive in this ever-changing environment. Director/writer Rawson Thurber has delivered a dynamic script that me and my co-stars and partners-in-heist, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds, can’t wait to shoot.
The fun we’re gonna have making Red Notice, but more importantly — the fun the worldwide audience will have watching it in 190+ countries — all at the same moment.”