Netflix has officially purchased the rights to Mowgli from, the live-action Jungle Book adaptation from director Andy Serkis.
This darker take on Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel was announced around the same time as Disney’s own live-action take, but was beat by Disney to theaters in 2016. Andy Serkis’ film was originally slated for a 2016 release as well but has since suffered multiple delays at Warner Bros.
Just a couple months ago a trailer was released for Mowgli that revealed an October 19, 2018 premiere, but this date has since be shelved and the film is now scheduled to appear on the streaming giant sometime in 2019.
Recently, Netflix took over the reins on another movie that was supposed to hit theaters, The Cloverfield Paradox. That film was instead revealed during the Super Bowl back in February and released immediately after the game. That particular film did not fair well with critics, so it is a little worrying that Mowgli is following the same trend. At this time it is unclear why Warner Bros. is letting the rights go, but it seems as if the studio does not have faith in the title making a huge splash, especially after Disney’s adaptation was just shy of $1 billion at the box office.
The film is being directed by Andy Serkis who is also donning the motion-capture suit to play Baloo the bear. Serkis is best known for his fantastic performance as Caesar in the Planet of the Apes franchise and Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The director told Deadline that he needed extra time for all the perfomance capture work and decided to “let the other film have its moment.” Serkis also claims the jump to Netflix will allow his film to stand out and differentiate itself a little more. Releasing on the streaming service will give it more creative freedom to have darker themes and explore violence against animals.
Mowgli stars Rohan Chand as the titular star alongside Christian Bale as Bagheera, Cate Blanchett as Kaa, Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan, and of course, Andy Serkis as Baloo.