The Netflix original movie Bright, the action-fantasy-cop movie starring Will Smith, got lambasted by critics who called it “bloated, expensive” and “an absolute mess.” Yet, this week, Netflix confirmed that it will be making a sequel to Bright, signaling that critics’ reviews didn’t have much effect on the popular streaming service’s decision-making process.
Last year, Netflix made news by paying a reported $90 million to acquire Bright in the company’s biggest movie investment yet. Released online last month, Bright earned a dismal 28% rating from the movie reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. In other words, it was a flop with critics. However, movie audiences disagreed with critics, as Rotten Tomatoes’ “Audience Score” (comprised of online ratings from users) for Bright is a healthy 87%.
Netflix is famous for closely guarding its viewership numbers, so we have no way of knowing for sure just how many people have streamed Bright to determine what kind of bang Netflix is getting for its buck. (Nielsen’s new streaming ratings, which Netflix disavows, said 11 million TV viewers watched Bright in its first three days online.) But it’s safe to say that Netflix wouldn’t move ahead with what is likely to be a similarly costly Bright sequel if the company wasn’t confident it could put out a product its subscribers really want to watch.
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Actually, Netflix, which plans to spend as much as $8 billion on original films and TV shows this year, reportedly had already ordered a Bright sequel before the first film premiered online. But Netflix made the Bright sequel official on Wednesday with a jokey Twitter post showing mock auditions of “orc” actors auditioning for roles in the sequel. (The fantasy movie features humans, orcs, elves, and faeries as characters.)
There is no official release date for the second Bright film, but stars Will Smith and Joel Edgerton will reportedly return, along with director David Ayer (Fury, Suicide Squad). However, screenwriter Max Landis, a controversial figure who was recently accused of sexual assault, will reportedly not return to write the new script.