Netflix Okays Bright Sequel—Without Max Landis

bright movie will smith joel edgerton
Will Smith and Joel Edgerton in Bright. CREDIT: NETFLIX/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

A lot of people had a lot to say about Bright. Directed by Suicide Squad’s David Ayer, the fantasy/buddy-cop/social commentary fell flat on its face for critics, who called it “a bloated, expensive mess,” “a tired buddy-cop movie dressed up in bizarre trappings,” ugly, dumb, incoherent, and preposterously silly,” “a schizophrenic, undisciplined movie that eventually deteriorates,” “a loud, ungainly hybrid,” “stunning in its audacity—and its stupidity”... you get the picture.

If you, like me, are one of those people who get a frisson of schadenfreude whenever critics whet their wordsmithery on a film they resent having to watch, I strongly recommend reading through the negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The film stands at an embarrassing 28 percent rotten… for critics. Audiences, however, loved it: that score stands at 87 percent.

In a press release announcing the sequel to Bright, Netflix touted a few surprising facts. For example, Bright is apparently the “highest viewed Netflix film ever on the service in its first week of release and one of the biggest originals (including sequels/additional seasons) Netflix has ever launched,” as well as the #1 film internationally (in more than 190 countries). Even the admittedly inaccurate Nielsen estimates were high, with at least 11 million viewers in Bright ’s first three days. Guess Will Smith hasn’t lost that living room box office pull?

Though Netflix reportedly okayed a sequel to Bright before the first film launched online, the company officially announced the Bright sequel via a cheeky Tweet:

One member of the Bright team who won’t be coming back is alleged serial creep Max Landis, who wrote the screenplay (Ayer will perform double duty as the sequel’s director and writer). Landis has been accused of sexual assault by multiple industry figures , and based on his past uninspiring misfires, nothing of value is lost this day.

Meanwhile, Ayer has been surprisingly chill about the epically bad critical reviews, so maybe he’ll tweak some stuff in the sequel to make it a little less “faerie lives don’t matter” and a little more… better. Smith and Joel Edgerton will also reprise their roles as veteran cop and humble Orc, with Eric Newman and Bryan Unkeless returning as producers.

Bright is but a single tine in the fork of Netflix’s grand strategy, of course: the streaming giant plans to release 80 original films this year. “They range anywhere from the million-dollar Sundance hit, all the way up to something on a much larger scale, like Will Smith-starrer Bright,” Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in an investors’ interview last October. (Bright cost $90 million to make, if you were wondering, but that doesn’t appear to be slowing down the money train.)

Either way, I know at least two people will be happy: John Boyega and our own executive editor, Mo Mozuch.

Have you seen Bright? Do you agree with its critical lampooning or are you with the 87 percent of audience members who enjoyed it? Do you think Ayer can make something great of the sequel? Feel free to let us know your thoughts on Bright and its upcoming sequel in the comments section below.


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