Netflix Is About to Spend $50 Million on Something Awesome

By  · Published on November 10th, 2015

The war for original content between streaming companies is heating up.

Mere days after Amazon Studios acquired Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon, Netflix has made its next move. Following up their Awards season-friendly push with Cary Fukanaga’s Beasts of No Nation, Netflix will next finance Okja, a monster movie from Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-ho.

According to Deadline, Netflix is laying $50 million at the feet of the Korean filmmaker, whose Snowpiercer was made on a budget of $40 million, grossing $80 million worldwide.

Here’s Bong’s description of the film:

“The film is about a warm friendship between a country girl and a brute with stories. To me, the crazy world surrounding Okja and the girl looks more like a monster. I want to depict the two characters’ bizarre journey and adventure across the tough world in an original fashion.”

This doesn’t sound that far removed from Bong Joon-ho’s earlier film, The Host, which was sensational. Anyone who has seen that film (or Snowpiercer) knows that the Korean director is brilliant with creating an aesthetic, building tension and delivering on monster goodness. This Netflix deal, which also includes financing from Brad Pitt’s Plan B, gives the director what he describes as “complete creative freedom.”

Okja has already lined up a very impressive cast, including Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald. And while this English-language film will certainly be highly anticipated by genre fans in the U.S., the ulterior motive for Netflix is that their Korean Netflix service is set to go live in 2016. I don’t know about the potential Netflix subscribers in South Korea, but I know I’m in.

Okja is scheduled to go into production next year, with a released planned for 2017.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the upcoming One Perfect Shot TV show (HBO Max, 2021) and the co-host of The Storm: A LOST Rewatch podcast. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)