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The Next ‘Shaft’ Movie Is Heading To Netflix

Shaft may be a complicated man but his Netflix deal is simple.
By  · Published on October 2nd, 2017

Shaft may be a complicated man but his Netflix deal is simple.

Netflix is closing in on a $30 million deal with New Line that will land them the next Shaft movie. Additionally, Netflix’s deal with New Line may change financing and distribution models for future urban-themed movies and genre films.

Here are the details according to Deadline,

Netflix will pay more than half the film’s high $30 million budget, in exchange for international rights and the ability to put the film on its streaming outside the U.S. two weeks after New Line releases theatrically in the United States.

The film will likely employ a “traditional theatrical to VOD and DVD rollout” which will bypass theater chains’ standard 90-day theatrical window demands. The deal means the untitled Shaft film’s director, Tim Story (Ride Along), begins production with more money than New Line was offering (if you listen closely you can hear Story’s line producer thanking the heavens). The deal also benefits Netflix by providing a potentially hot new domestic release to entice their international markets.

The original Shaft movie made its way to theaters in 1971 and became a cult phenomenon. Directed by Gordon Parks, the film features Richard Roundtree as John Shaft, a street-smart private eye that knows how to take care of business — and the ladies! Shaft is arguably the blaxploitation movement’s defining film and its immense popularity in 1971 lead to a subgenre of Shaft-style knockoffs. Roundtree would reprise the role for several official follow-ups as well as a 1973 TV series.

John Singleton brought the series back in 2000 with an action/crime/thriller creatively titled Shaft. In this film, Samuel L. Jackson donned the iconic leather jacket, playing a New York City detective and nephew to the original John Shaft. The film received a lukewarm reaction from critics and fans, earning $70 million domestically and a middling 68% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. The Hollywood monster thirsts for the blood of reboots, prequels, and sequels, so a series as beloved as Shaft can’t stay dead forever.

The next Shaft movie is being labeled a reboot and will bring back Roundtree and Jackson in some capacity. It appears the proto-Shafts will hand over the reins to Jessie T. Usher who will play Shaft’s son. Here’s how Deadline describes the role:

He [Usher] will play a young cyber expert FBI agent who, despite being estranged from his father, is forced to work with him on a case. It becomes a collision between old school and new school.

As a fan of the original Shaft, I don’t see much here to get excited about. Jessie T. Usher’s biggest movie credit is Independence Day: Resurgence, which isn’t the best title to gauge his acting chops or overall likability factor. The one aspect of the reboot holding my interest is that Black-ish creator Kenya Barris is penning the script. Barris seems to be busy these days; he wrote the summer smash, Girls Trip, and he’s working on the upcoming Coming to America sequel. Barris has been on a creative roll lately, so until one of his films craps the bed, I’m willing to take a flyer on any project he is attached to.

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