According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix paid $60 million for War Machine:
In April 2014, actor-producer Pitt announced he would star in Plan B’s adaptation of the late Michael Hastings‘ book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan as Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan who was forced to resign after mocking Vice President Joe Biden and other Obama officials in Hastings’ 2010 Rolling Stone story.
What wasn’t publicly known was that Pitt and edgy Australian auteur David Michod (Animal Kingdom, The Rover) wanted to make a satirical comedy, not a mainstream, dramatic biopic that would appeal to the U.S. heartland as Clint Eastwood‘s American Sniper did. Their movie, War Machine, could easily irk conservative audiences.
The film had been set up at New Regency and RatPac Entertainment, but even though New Regency made 12 Years a Slave with Plan B, the backers wanted Michod and producers to lower the proposed $60 million to $70 million budget. The filmmakers balked, putting the project up for grabs, and Netflix revealed June 8 that it had swooped in and grabbed War Machine. CAA, which represents Pitt and Plan B, brokered the deal with Netflix, while Michod is repped by UTA.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos was willing to pay the $60 million the filmmakers wanted, according to a knowledgeable insider, debunking reports that pegged the price at about half that. “It’s great for the specialty film business, since people might be more willing to see challenging, liberal-leaning material in the comfort of their own home [rather] than in a movie theater,” says a source close to the deal. “More people might actually see the movie this way.”
Or, as Netflix spokesman Jonathan Friedland tells THR: “David Michod and Brad Pitt are known for the fearless and exceptional intelligence of their work, which is why War Machine will be a great treat for Netflix audiences around the world.”
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