Netflix Inc. is pushing further into the film business. The streaming service announced Monday that it acquired the distribution rights to Brad Pitt's new film, "War Machine." Written and directed by David Michod ("Animal Kingdom"), the satirical comedy will be released to Netflix subscribers and available in select theaters.
"War Machine" is inspired by the best-selling book "The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan," by the late journalist Michael Hastings. Hastings' book focuses on Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who led the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq during the Persian Gulf Wars and was top Commander of American forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal resigned after comments he made about Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials appeared in Rolling Stone.
Pitt, who is also producing the film with Ian Bryce ("World War Z") and his Plan B productions partners, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, stars as a "rock star" four-star general, modeled after McChrystal, who is commanding the war in Afghanistan.
According to Deadline, Netflix paid somewhere in the $30 million range for the film, which would make this its biggest investment to date. Netflix has picked up other films before -- like "Jadotville," starring Jamie Dornan, and the Idris Elba-led "Beasts of No Nation," -- and it also has a four-movie deal with Adam Sandler. "War Games," however, will mark Netflix's first acquisition of a movie with an A-list actor like Brad Pitt, which would further legitimize it as a viable distribution option for future movies. Essentially, "War Games" can do for Netflix what "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black" have done for it in the television sphere.
“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,” the "Oceans Eleven" actor said in a press release from Netflix announcing the news.
Principal photography is set to begin in August.