According to a report by IndieWire (via Engadget), Netflix has acquired exclusive rights to the legendary moviemaker Martin Scorsese’s upcoming $100 million+ gangster flick ‘The Irishman’. The movie is believed to be in production since 2010 and is set to star Robert de Niro and Al Pacino. The story is adapted from the nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses about mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran.
The source notes that the movie’s big budget is apparently due to the use of Benjamin Button-style special effects to make its actors appear younger for certain scenes. The movie was initially going to be backed by Paramount Pictures, but with its 12-year chairman Brad Grey heading out the door, Scorsese’s team put together another package. “Scorsese’s movie is a risky deal, and Paramount is not in the position to take risks”, said a person familiar with the deal.
“Paramount hedged its bets by picking up North American rights while foreign sales company Mexico’s Fabrica de Cine (“Silence”) put the movie up for auction at Cannes. In a bidding war with Lionsgate, Fox and Universal, “The Irishman” sold for $50 million to rising studio STX Entertainment. That was the price, because Scorsese’s rambunctious Leonardo DiCaprio comedy, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” was a global hit ($392 million).
Now, per their usual custom, Netflix is acquiring all world rights. That means STX is likely out, as is Media Asia, which picked up distribution rights for China”.
The movie has no official start date, but sources say it is aiming for 2019 release.