Netflix Acquires Distribution Rights for David Michôd’s |Brad Pitt’s “War Machine” aka The Operators Filming in August 2015

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Looks like The Operators has a new name.  According to Deadline:

Netflix has acquired distribution rights to War Machine, the David Michod-directed drama which will star Brad Pitt as a four-star rock star U.S. military general. The character is patterned after Gen. Stanley McChrystal, for a time the commanding general of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The film is a satirical comedy inspired by the bestselling book The Operators: The Wild And Terrifying Inside Story Of America’s War In Afghanistan, by the late journalist Michael Hastings. Script was written by Michod, whose credits include Animal Kingdom and The Rover. Pitt and his Plan B cohorts Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner will produce with Ian Bryce.

This picture package was on Deadline’s list of his Cannes titles, but Pitt and his reps have for several weeks been down the road with Ted Sarandos and his Netflix cohorts on an alternative strategy. With this deal, Sarandos has an opportunity to make the kind of seismic move in features as he did with TV series like House Of Cards. This will be the biggest investment Netflix will have made so far in a feature film, in the $30 million range. …

Plan B acquired the Hastings book last year and originally it seemed like a straight nonfiction film. It has instead been turned into a fictionalized satire. The book captured McChrystal in his cocky glory, and focused on the backrooms and politics of war and the high-stakes maneuvers and political firestorm that shook the country. Hastings, who followed McChrystal around Europe and Afghanistan for a month in 2010 for a Rolling Stone article, quoted the general badmouthing the White House and its handling of the war. That proved to be his undoing; after Rolling Stonepublished the article “The Runaway General,” McChrystal was ordered back to D.C. by President Obama, and McChrystal tendered his resignation there.

Even though this is sophisticated subject matter and not the popcorn fare that studios covet, any studio or independent distributor would have salivated over releasing a movie with Brad Pitt as its star. But it is also the kind of movie that is often hard pressed to find a large theatrical audience, and P&A is exorbitant to chase that business. Pitt and his advisers instead decided to experiment with the idea that potentially more people would see the film through the Netflix global streaming subscriber base, while still having it eligible for Oscar consideration just like any other theatrical release. 

War Machine is a rip-roaring, behind-the-facade tale of modern war decision-makers, from the corridors of power to the distant regions of America’s ambitions,” said Sarandos, the chief content officer of Netflix. “Brad and David are a perfect team to make this timely, compelling and entertaining film.”

Said Pitt: We are so excited to be a part of the inspiring commitment by Netflix to produce cutting-edge content and to deliver it to a global audience.”

Said Michod: “I’m humbled to be making a big, bold movie about the whole sprawling, complex, cumbersome and crazy machinery of modern war and the many lives it touches.” [My emphasis]

According to The Hollywood Reporter:

“The film, which begins shooting in August, will be streamed in 2016 on Netflix and get a theatrical release as well.”

Thanks @FakePlasticLove for the THR heads up.

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