Netflix left its mark at Cannes yesterday by acquiring worldwide distribution rights to Kevin James action-comedy The True Memoirs of an International Assassin. The purchase furthers the streaming service’s aggressive forays into feature distribution, especially given that the budget is said to be on the scale of other James titles, including Sony Pictures’ Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and Zookeeper.
Under the terms of the deal, The True Memoirs of an International Assassin will be presented as a “Netflix event,” debuting exclusively on the streaming service next year and entirely circumventing a theatrical release. Major theater chains like AMC and Regal have been vocal in their opposition to Netflix failing to observe the traditional release model of a theatrical bow followed by home media release, so one can imagine those companies are none-too-happy to hear about the streaming service’s latest acquisition.
Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) is directing the comedy, about a mild-mannered author (James) who flees to Belize after his novel about an assassin is accidentally published as a nonfiction memoir. While there, he’s caught up in an actual assassination plot and is forced to think like his character in order to survive. Jeff Morris penned the script, which was featured on the Black List.
Netflix is taking a multi-pronged approach to releasing films. Some of its acquisitions, including Cary Fukunaga-directed war drama Beasts of No Nation (being eyed as an Oscar contender) and Jamie Dornan-starring historical siege pic Jadotville, will receive a qualifying theatrical berth and possibly play on TV screens, while others will be exclusive to Netflix subscribers. That’s the case for The True Memoirs of an International Assassin, and likely for all four of the films Netflix is making with Adam Sandler.
The Kevin James pic joins a lineup of Netflix acquisitions that also includes documentary Hot Girls Wanted, four untitled pics from the Duplass brothers, Hannah Fidell drama 6 Years, a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel and a new Pee-Wee Herman movie.