First of all, I think it’s great that the director of “Between Knives and Secrets”, the brilliant Rian Johnson, closed such a lucrative deal for an original and authorial project, without coming from any existing intellectual property. Netflix opened its pocket, in a war fought with Apple TV + and Amazon Prime, and forked the rights to the sequels.
In a world of entertainment completely dominated by intellectual properties like Marvel, DC, “Fast & Furious” and “Jurassic World”, it is an encouragement to see an original project being contested by studios – or rather, by streaming platforms, which in the years 20th century kind of happens the same.
At the same time, a red light will come on. Even before the coronavirus pandemic left part of the world in quarantine between the four walls of the room, cinema emerged more and more as a stage for the event films, the great spectacles that embraced a global audience, bathing in oceans of money.
Independent cinema, restricted to alternative circuits, has found in streaming the ideal place to thrive. Films could be cheaper, expectations could be lower, creativity and experimentation found their place.
With the popularization of platforms, and the need for volume in their catalogs, independent filmmakers from around the world had a chance to create films of the most diverse genres, good and bad, but always with a plural look. Thus, the industry was still quite healthy.
ART AND BUSINESS
By opening the wallet and paying $ 400 million to an independent project, Netflix may also have opened a pandora box in which the finance department, not the creative minds, has the final say on the projects being fed.
It may seem pessimistic, but this movement resembles the mega-salaries of the mega-studios that the studios started to give to their stars at the end of the 1980s. Starting with Bruce Willis (in “Duro de Matar”) and Sylvester Stallone (“Falcão – The Champion of Champions” “), the industry has come to be defined solely by increasingly larger and more absurd numbers. The democratization of cinema as an art seemed stuck in the negotiating table between agents and executives.
Not that continuing the world of “Between Knives and Secrets” is not worth a few hundred million dollars. When Danny Boyle gave up the direction of “007 – No Time to Die”, Daniel Craig had a break before resuming work under Cary Fukunaga. Rian Johnson saw the opportunity and enticed the star.
The result could not be further from Bond, even if Benoit Blanc is in the same field as the British spy. Unlike global adventures, he is a keen-eyed detective willing to solve a mystery, a murder plot.
The second film will begin shooting in Greece in June, and the new cast will soon be announced. Even because Craig is the only one to return, since Blanc, in the tradition of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, must investigate a brand-new mystery.
I hope, of course, that I’m wrong. I hope that the hundreds of millions spent by Netflix on the project by Rian Johnson – who owns the brand “Knive’s Out” alongside producer Ram Bergman – does not mean that an independent project needs a huge financial deal to exist.
The good news, finally, is for fans of “Star Wars”. Even though I am a staunch supporter of “The Last Jedi”, it is a controversial film for fans of the series. With the agenda taken over by crimes for the next few years, I find it difficult for Rian Johnson to have time to resume his trilogy within the universe created by George Lucas. If that means more of Craig’s adventures like Benoit Blanc, it was worth it.
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