The unstoppable force that is streaming giant Netflix has a whole new kingdom to conquer: movies.
Steering its focus away from original series like House of Cards or documentaries like Chef’s Table, Netflix has commissioned a handful of original feature films with big names and big budgets.
From long-awaited martial arts sequels to all-star variety specials, the streaming service has a finger in every proverbial pie, posing a serious threat to established production companies.
Even better, all Netflix Original content is available around the world at the same time – so no more pesky release delays between us and the US.
Here’s what you have to look forward to.
Beasts of No Nation
Who: True Detective director Cary Fukunaga’s new movie, starring British actor Idris Elba alongside Ama K Abebrese, Grace Nortey and David Dontoh.
What: An American war drama based on Uzodinma Iweala’s 2005 novel of the same name. Set in West Africa, Beasts of No Nation follows a young boy named Agu who is forced to join mercenary fighters when conflict tears his family apart. Elba plays the merciless warlord training him.
When: October 16, 2015
The Ridiculous Six
Who: Directed by Frank Coraci, written by Adam Sandler and Tim Herlihy and starring Sandler alongside David Spade, Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Luke Wilson and Nick Nolte.
What: A spoof Western movie based on The Magnificent Seven, The Ridiculous Six has been plagued by controversy after it was reported several Native American actors stormed off set due to the film’s cultural inaccuracies and offensive jokes.
“The movie has ‘ridiculous’ in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety in April.
“It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularized, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of – but in on – the joke.”
When: December 11, 2015
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend
Who: Directed by renowned martial arts choreographer and director Yuen Woo-ping and starring Michelle Yeoh, Donnie Yen, Harry Shum Jr and Jason Scott Lee.
What: The sequel to Ang Lee’s critically-acclaimed 2000 movie, The Green Legend is based on Wang Dulu’s novel Iron Knight, Silver Vase.
It will share many of the same themes as the Oscar-winning original but will tell the story of “lost love, young love, a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption”.
The movie will also be released in select IMAX theatres.
When: First quarter of 2016.
Who: Directed by Richie Smith and starring Fifty Shades of Grey heartthrob Jamie Dornan and French actor Guillaume Canet.
What: Based on the true story of a 1961 stand-off between an Irish UN battalion and French and Belgian-led mercenaries in the Congo.
Dornan plays Commander Patrick Quinland, who leads the 150-strong Irish soldiers as they are stormed by 3000 Congolese troops. Canet will play the French commander seeking to defeat him and his men.
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday
Who: Created by original Pee-wee star Paul Reubens, with the help of Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and director John Lee. Starring Reubens, Joe Manganiello, Alia Showkat, Laurence Fishburne and David Arquette.
What: Beloved television character Pee-wee Herman (star of popular 1980s children’s show Pee-wee’s Playhouse) takes his first ever holiday, inspired by a mysterious stranger.
When: March 2016
Who: Directed by Australian director David Michod and starring Brad Pitt.
What: A political satire about General Stanley A. McChrystal, a US commander in Afghanistan who was forced to resign in 2010 after making fun of Vice President Joe Biden in a Rolling Stone article.
War Machine is an adaptation of late journalist Michael Hastings’ 2012 book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.
Netflix paid a reported US$60 million for the rights to film.
Who: Written by and starring Ricky Gervais alongside Eric Bana, Vera Farmiga, Benjamin Bratt and America Ferrera.
What: Bana plays a struggling radio journalist who decides to fake frontline war reports from the comfort of his New York hideout in an attempt to salvage his career.
Bill Murray’s Christmas Special
Who: Directed by Sofia Coppola, who also wrote the special with Bill Murray and Mitch Glazer. Joining Murray on screen are George Clooney, Miley Cyrus, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Michael Cera, Chris Rock and more.
What: More of a mini-movie, the special is an homage to the classic variety shows of yesteryear. Bill Murray is concerned no one will show up to his TV show due to a New York City snowstorm. Fortunately for the audience, his celebrity friends arrive eventually and join him in holiday-themed song and dance.
When: TBA (but likely at the end of this year).