Netflix acquires Brad Pitt's McChrystal satire 'War Machine'
NEW YORK — Netflix has acquired the satirical comedy "War Machine," with Brad Pitt set to star as General Stanley McChrystal, adding a major dose of star power to the streaming service's growing stable of original films.
Netflix, which announced the acquisition Monday, will produce the film, to be directed by Australian filmmaker David Michod ("Animal Kingdom," "The Rover"). Shooting is set to begin in August, with the movie scheduled for release on Netflix sometime next year.
"War Machine" is based on Michael Hastings' book "The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan." Hastings penned the infamous 2010 Rolling Stone profile of McChrystal that led to his resignation. The book and profile were based on weeks of nearly unfettered access to the general in 2010.
"War Machine is a rip-roaring, behind-the-facade tale of modern war decision-makers, from the corridors of power to the distant regions of America's ambitions," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix.
Netflix has steadily made inroads into the movie business, promising to upend its traditional theatrical window system and more quickly debut movies to its 60 million-plus subscribers, following a limited release in theaters.
Netflix has inked deals with the Weinstein Co. for a "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" sequel, a new Pee-wee Herman movie with Judd Apatow, and a series of comedies with Adam Sandler. Other plans include a movie with Ricky Gervais, a documentary deal with Leonardo DiCapiro and a four-picture deal with Mark and Jay Duplass.
With sometimes splashy acquisition prices, Netflix also has picked up Cary Fukunaga's "Beasts of No Nation" at the Sundance Film Festival and Richie Smyth's "Jadotville" at the Berlin Film Festival.
Two Netflix-distributed documentaries - "Virunga" and "The Square" - have earned the company its first two Oscar nominations. Now, with the pedigrees of Michod and Pitt, it could be aiming for Oscars in the fiction film categories too.
"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," Pitt said in a statement.