Back in July, it was revealed that John David Washington, Zendaya, and writer-director Sam Levinson quietly filmed an entire black and white feature, “Malcolm & Marie,” while in quarantine. And while there weren’t a ton of details revealed about the film, just having the creator of “Euphoria” working on a new film with those two actors was enough to get people pretty damn excited. And apparently, it was enough to catch the eye of Netflix, which just spent an astonishing amount of money to make sure the streaming platform is the new home for the drama.
According to Deadline, Netflix has secured the distribution rights for “Malcolm & Marie” in the company’s latest massive acquisition. However, the biggest news is that the streaming service once again broke the bank to land the feature, spending close to $30 million for the rights to Levinson’s feature. To fully show how desirable the new film was during negotiations, the report claims that Netflix won the film in a competition against the likes of HBO, Amazon, Searchlight, MGM, Apple, A24, and Focus Features.
In a statement, Levinson said he was “so grateful to this cast and crew, many of whom are my ‘Euphoria’ family, for coming together during such uncertain times. We felt privileged to be able to make this film together and we did so with a lot of love. We are all thrilled that it has ended up with Netflix which is unparalleled in allowing filmmakers the freedom to tell their stories that reach audiences all over the world.”
While details are still being kept pretty well under wraps, “Malcolm & Marie” is described as a romantic drama with Washington and Zendaya in the lead roles. The film was shot on 35mm black and white film and was conceived, written, and directed all while the industry was locked down and most other productions were stalled due to COVID-19.
And it’s the fact that Hollywood has been shut down for half of 2020 that is probably driving Netflix to make huge deals to score some of the biggest fall films. The streaming service has never been shy about spending money to land prestige pictures, but in an industry where new content might be difficult to find, it shouldn’t shock anyone that a new black and white drama will cost $30 million.
In addition to “Malcolm & Marie,” Netflix has recently made massive deals for Halle Berry’s “Bruised” and the Martin Scorsese-produced festival standout (and early Oscar contender) “Pieces of a Woman.”