The first thing to know about Netflix’s slate of original movies for 2017 is that it’s almost definitely incomplete. If 2016 is any indication, the streaming service will be active on the film festival circuit, acquiring the kind of indie fare that these days has more trouble securing a strictly theatrical release. But even without acquiring additional movies, Netflix already has a full slate of nearly a dozen original films with stars as big as Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton and Jennifer Hudson. Here are the movies the streaming service will serve up in 2017.
Write to Eliza Berman at email@example.com.
David Brent: Life on the Road (Feb. 10)
Ricky Gervais reprises his role as the perpetually cringe-inducing David Brent from The Office (the British one) in a mock-documentary in which he pursues his a lifelong dream of rock stardom. His quest for approval, one can only assume, will likely be about as successful as his misguided ploys for adoration as a paper company middle manager.
The Discovery (March 31)
This futuristic love story is set in the year after the afterlife is scientifically proven. Written and directed by Charlie McDowell, who also helmed 2014’s disquieting romantic thriller The One I Love, The Discovery boasts an impressive cast that includes Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Jesse Plemons and Riley Keough. If you need a fix on afterlife love stories in the meantime, check out Black Mirror Season 3 episode “San Junipero.”
Sandy Wexler (April 14)
Netflix is halfway through its exclusive four-movie deal with Adam Sandler, and things are not going well. The Ridiculous 6 faced immense criticism for its portrayal of Native Americans and currently stands at a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Do-Over didn’t do much to correct course. Next up is Sandy Wexler, a comedy about a talent manager who falls in love with a singer he discovers. Track record aside, it has Jennifer Hudson going for it, so that’s something.
War Machine (May 26)
Brad Pitt plays General Stanley McChrystal in this adaptation of journalist Michael Hastings’ 2012 bestseller The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan. Hastings’ 2010 Rolling Stone profile of McChrystal, which portrayed him as disrespectful to top government officials and living a rock-star lifestyle, ultimately led to his resignation. The movie also stars Ben Kingsley, Topher Grace and Atlanta star Keith Stanfield.
After a divisive outing with this summer’s Suicide Squad, director David Ayer and Will Smith re-team for Bright, an action-thriller that imagines a Los Angeles in which humans, Orcs and other fantastical creatures coexist. Smith plays a human cop partnered with an Orc cop (Joel Edgerton), and the pair gets mixed up in a turf war in South Central. Although little more has been offered up on the plot, we’re guessing these gang wars are of the intraspecies variety.
Okja (June 28)
Fans of Snowpiercer, rejoice: South Korean writer-director Bong Joon-Ho reunites with Tilda Swinton for this adventure story about a young girl who faces off with a multi-national company that wants to kidnap her best friend. That best friend, Okja, is a gigantic animal, the species of which is still under wraps. Jake Gyllenhaal, Lily Collins, Paul Dano and The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun costar.
Writer-director Duncan Jones is best known (aside from being David Bowie’s son) for otherworldly fare: two of his three previous credits—Moon and Warcraft: The Beginning—take place far from Earth. His next movie is set much closer to home (a near-future Berlin), albeit in that city’s seedy underworld, where a mute man with a violent history (Alexander Skarsgård) goes searching for his missing girlfriend.
Our Souls at Night (TBA)
It’s been decades since Robert Redford and Jane Fonda played opposite one another as romantic leads—in The Electric Horseman (1979), The Chase (1966) and, most famously, Barefoot in the Park (1967). In Our Souls at Night, they play neighbors—he a widower, she a widow—who discover each other in the autumn of their lives. Director Ritesh Batra’s first feature, The Lunchbox, was a hit among arthouse crowds.
In this comedy, Marlon Wayans experiences a kind of Groundhog Day phenomenon, but at a particularly inopportune moment: his wedding day. Wracked with nerves before the vows, he wakes up naked in an elevator on the big day and must relive the hour before the ceremony over and over until he sorts out the source of his anxiety.
Death Note (TBA)
Nat Wolff stars in this adaptation of a Japanese manga series, which centers on a high schooler who finds a notebook that allows its bearer to kill any person by conjuring an image of their face. He gets drunk on his newfound power, and thrills ensue. Keith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley and Willem Dafoe costar.
First They Killed My Father (TBA)
Angelina Jolie directs this adaptation, which she also wrote, of Loung Ung’s memoir, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers. The book tells the harrowing story of Ung’s family’s ordeal during the reign of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, during which a quarter of Cambodia’s population was killed in a genocide that targeted professionals, intellectuals and government employees, like Ung’s father.