EXCLUSIVE: Back when Deadline revealed that Universal wavered on the big budget of Rawson Marshall Thurber’s three-hander script Red Notice and franchise-hungry Netflix stepped right in, skeptics questioned the wisdom of a global heist film with superstar paydays for Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds and an eight-figure payday for writer-director Thurber. Looks like Netflix’s biggest movie bet at that time paid off: Deadline hears the streamer is in the early stages of putting together a back-to-back shoot of two Red Notice sequels, with the hope to begin production in early 2023, dependent on deals and the schedules of its busy stars.
Sources said Thurber has begun writing.
Netflix would not comment, but sources said the plan is to bring back the star trio and add new characters to flesh out a heist-film ensemble reminiscent of the starry Ocean’s Eleven franchise. Red Notice was sold in one of the biggest pitch package deals of 2018, with Universal and Legendary winning a big auction for a project that at the time had Thurber and Johnson attachments. This was when Uni and Legendary were teamed with that duo on Skyscraper. Netflix was the runner-up in that bidding and stepped up in a hot second when Universal got cold feet on a budget that reportedly was $200 million or more, including the star salaries. At the time, it was the biggest commitment Netflix made on a feature as it prioritized franchise IP and stars. Red Notice might have been exceeded by Netflix’s commitment to The Gray Man, the 007-esque global thriller that Avengers: Endgame‘s Joe & Anthony Russo directed for Netflix with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans starring.
Beau Flynn will return to produce via his Flynn Pictures Co banner, alongside Johnson, Hiram Garcia and Dany Garcia via Seven Bucks Productions. Thurber is also producing through his Bad Version Productions and Flynn Picture Co’s Scott Sheldon will be exec producer.
Back-to-back shoots show a confidence in the IP and creatives. After Peter Jackson shot most of three installments of The Lord of the Rings for New Line when it was considered a crazy risk for an unproven IP that became a billion-dollar Best Picture-winning franchise, consecutive shoots have been done on movies such as James Cameron’s Avatar sequels, the Russo Brothers’ Marvel blockbusters Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, The Hunger Games and Pirates of the Caribbean. Interestingly, those bets were the domain of the traditional theatrical distributors. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see it gravitate to streamers, which certainly bought the lion’s share of big movie packages in 2021. Stay tuned.