The live-action Death Note escapes WB, heads to the safer pastures of Netflix
There may be some good coming out of the box office collapse of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The Wrap is reporting that Warner Bros. is dropping the live-action Death Note film, but it has found a potentially safer home – at Netflix.
After Batman v Superman’s record setting drop of 69-percent from the first to second week, paired with several other recent bombs (Pan, Jupiter Ascending, and In the Heart of the Sea especially) WB announced that it was considering cutting the number of original films it releases in favor of further developing its existing stable of franchises. The first casualty of that decision appears to be Death Note.
The live-action version of the immensely popular manga-turned-anime has been in development for a long, long time at WB. At one point director Shane Black was developing it, with plans to make it his next project after Iron Man 3. That obviously never happened, but the property lived on.
The move seems to have also helped to speed up the casting. The Leftovers’ Margaret Qualley signed on recently, and Netflix is currently eyeing War Machine’s Keith Stanfield. That deal may be finalized shortly after the WB and Netflix deal concludes.
Death Note is a supernatural cat-and-mouse story featuring a young, brilliant student who happens upon a notebook that can remotely, and untraceably kill anyone in the world whose full name is entered in it. Using this power against the criminals of the world, the student (whose name in the manga/anime is Light, but that will probably be changed) attracts the attention of the incredible and idiosyncratic detective, L.
The film was about to begin production when the news came. WB allowed the filmmakers to shop the project around, and within 24 hours, multiple studios were interested. According to The Wrap, Netflix confirmed that it ensured the filmmaker that it will make the movie if it went with the streaming network. Wingard and his partners agreed, and the deal is expected to be done soon.
Production is expected to begin in June, and the budget is estimated to be in the $40-$50 million range.
After years and years in various stages of production, the live-action Death Note film actually has a home.