Though there are many people working in the traditional film and television markets that would love for this not to be true, it's impossible to deny Netflix's incredible success recently. As the streaming giant has turned to creating and releasing original content, there have been and still are many naysayers, including those who see Netflix's debt as a major issue, but these people continue to be proven wrong at every turn. With some gigantic shows in House of Cards and Orange is the New Black and great new films such as Okja, Netflix has shown it can make winning material. Yet, like any studio or network, Netflix has seen some failures too. This past year has seen the service cancel more shows than ever before. While it's impossible to predict, we thought we would look ahead to see what upcoming shows and films look like they have the best chance at success and which shows and films appear to be on the way to the scrapyard before they even start.
When it comes to predictions, we have to rely on past indicators. We can't simply judge the concept to determine if a project will be successful. Otherwise, nearly every adaptation made would work well because the material and concept was good to begin with. By looking at the resumes of the cast and crew involved in addition to the concept, however, we might have a better shot at predicting with some accuracy. Still, questionable actors and directors can get better and/or lucky and the greats can slip up. As you'll see, we will also try to determine how the audience's appetite for such a project might impact its reception. Here are 10 Upcoming Netflix Titles That Have No Chance (and 5 That Sound Awesome).
15 FAIL: Naked
It's high time that the spoof flicks starring Marlon Wayans and company, ride off into the sunset. The first couple of Scary Movies might have been acceptable, and, at least, we got Anna Faris from these titles, but now that they're into the double digits in sequels and spin-offs, we're sick of them. Apparently, Netflix is not. They decided to greenlight Naked. This film is a remake of the 2000 Swedish film Naken, which is essentially Groundhog Day, except not nearly as good. We can be certain that the comparisons between these two films ends there. Set to be directed by Michael Hiddes, the guy who did the A Haunted House films and other disasters like Dance Flick and Fifty Shades of Black, we expect very little from this film. Why Netflix thought this film was a good idea is beyond us, but we are positive this one will fail.
14 FAIL: Death Note
Even though we're going to point something out up front, we don’t believe that the upcoming Netflix film, Death Note, should fail because of this factor. We're talking about the appropriation or whitewashing issue in Death Note. This is an upcoming film based on the manga series, but it's been reformatted to fit within a Western world. Right away, this has wrinkled feathers. We know now that wrinkled diversity feathers upfront almost never lead to positive results. Sure, you could argue that films like Ghost in the Shell and Pan and shows like The Iron Fist, failed more because they were not good than the whitewashing stuff, but the whitewashing scandals certainly didn't help. We think the film will fail because it seems to be misinterpreting the main character from the source material (at least, it appears that way in the trailers). The plot is simple: the main character, Light, discovers a notebook, Death Note, that grants him special powers. Light can write down any person's name whose face he knows and have them killed. He strives to use this power to essentially wipe out all evil, becoming God in the process. The trailers make him appear regretful for using this ability. This is a problem because that's not what Light is about. He feels that he is doing God's work. He's a complicated and wholly flawed character. That's what makes him so great.
13 FAIL: Green Eggs and Ham
Call us cynics but this is a project that has been in development hell for a long time for a reason. The famous story 50-word written by Dr. Seuss has never been adapted on television or film because it probably shouldn't be. While other stories from the author have been made for the screen, few have been successful. Horton Hears a Who might be the best received adaptation from critics and How The Grinch Stole Christmas might be one lasting favorite, but are we to believe that they can make an entire season of television from Green Eggs and Ham? Who cares if Ellen DeGeneres is a producer? We will say that they're making it sound promising. It's slated to be one of the most expensive animated projects in history and it's got a talented team of writers on board, but that doesn't change our minds completely. Put us in the "not overly optimistic about this one" group.
12 FAIL: Lost in Space
We would love it if the upcoming Netflix remake of Lost in Space could be great. We just don't expect it. That's right, there will be a modern reimagining of the 1965 series of the same name. The issue here is that we've already had so many great shows and films that cover similar ground. Shows and films in space have to be entirely original for modern audiences to enjoy. We've retraced our steps so many times in this landscape that many sci-fi shows have failed because they gave us nothing new. There are some talented actors set to perform in Lost in Space, but none are really eye-catching names and the series is set to be penned by the writers of Dracula Untold, so it's not like this remake has been given the hottest creative team available either. This one could surprise us, but we see it failing miserably. Harsh. We're aware.
11 FAIL: 1922
We love the underdog success stories, but we don't often bet on them to happen. Sure, that might be considered playing it safe, but whatever. With so many Stephen King stories being adapted right at this very moment, one of them is bound to fail, right? Well, other than The Dark Tower. We're betting that 1922 will be that failure. The star of the film, Tomas Jane, is an actor we really like. But the director, Zak Hilditch, we know almost nothing about. Yes, he could be amazing and do things we've never seen before, but the "is he insane or not?" plot has been done to death in film and we don't see anything unique on paper in 1922 to make us change our expectations about this film.
10 FAIL: Kiss Me First
The concept for the Netflix series, Kiss Me First, sounds intriguing. It's about a video game addict who meets a girl online who has a dark secret. The execution of said concept is where we have our doubts. The series is promising to blend live-action with a computer generated virtual world. Unless this virtual world is very close to our own, a la Ready Player One, we just can't imagine fans taking too well to it. People love to play video games and get lost in them but getting lost in the story of another person lost in a video game might be difficult to accomplish, unless it's Wreck it Ralph or Tron.
9 FAIL: Game Over, Man
If you're a fan of the Workaholics television show, the upcoming film, Game Over, Man, is probably right up your alley. The film is made by the same creators, directed by the same director, and starred in by the same stars as the show. It will be, for all intents and purposes, an extension of the show. It will follow the trio, Adam Devine, Anders Holm and Blake Anderson as they try to save their friend and benefactor from a hostage situation. It will likely be very similar to Pineapple Express and it will be released on April 20, 2018 (4/20), which means it might as well be called Pineapple Express 2. Personally, we're not huge fans of Anderson or Holm, though Devine does have his charms, even if he borrowed them from Jack Black. It'll have laughs and Netflix is banking on that 4/20 audience, but we doubt it'll create any lasting memories.
8 FAIL: IO
Although it is not always the case, one of the tricks to creating a film that critiques certain elements of society is to do it early. Our big concern with the upcoming film, IO, is that it's just one more environmental dystopian film, except it's coming to us really late in the game. The cast seems strong, with Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie and Danny Huston, set to take on the leading roles, but the director is a relative unknown in Jonathan Helpert. Though we admit that the concept doesn't sound all that bad, it's just the unoriginality of the whole thing that puts us off. It appears, on the surface, to be one more quest story set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia.
7 FAIL: Altered Carbon
Based on the Richard K. Morgan novel of the same name, Altered Carbon is an upcoming cyberpunk series that will call Netflix home. Though the main actors may be talented, Joel Kinnaman, Kristin Lehman and James Purefoy are not the names that will call audiences in by the busload. That being said, Kinnaman is one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood (largely thanks to Netflix), so they're banking on that perception changing. Our biggest concern with this series is the writing. The series is to be written by Laeta Kalogridis. Kalogridis is probably best known for penning Terminator Genisys and Shutter Island, neither of which was known for having a particularly inspiring story.
6 FAIL: The Irishman
We know. How the hell could this film fail? It's true, it probably won't fail in the strictest sense of the word. We do, however, believe that this won't live up to expectations. Think about it for one second. Martin Scorsese reuniting with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. Then you add in Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel. Wow, we must be crazy to include this in the failure section. Yet, even though our conviction is not all that strong and we desperately want this to be as awesome as it seems like it's going to be, we honestly just have a hard time believing it can live up to the hype. The budget is enormous for this one too, so it will have to kill in order to make any money back. That's unlikely to be what it's about for Netflix. This film is quality advertising. We will say one thing. The de-aging stuff that is being talked about around this film has us a little worried. De-aging has worked well in some films, but it has also made people look super weird too. We're worried this might be another Righteous Kill: overpromised and underdelivered.
5 SUCCESS: Mindhunter
Mindhunter is an upcoming series on Netflix that we are putting our bets down on. You have a strong cast, an incredible director in David Fincher and a powerful and compelling concept. This is a sure winner. Most Fincher projects are going to succeed, but we know that this guy can direct crime stories. We've seen it done with amazing results. Mindhunter is very similar to Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal and for good reason. They're all loosely based on the same guy, John E. Douglas. To show just how much Netflix believes in this show, it's already been given a second season and doesn't debut until October.
4 SUCCESS: Gerald's Game
Another Stephen King adaptation, another failure. No, just kidding. We think this one is going to be excellent. Here's why: Mike Flanagan. Flanagan might just be the best director in horror right now. And, before you throw Before I Wake in our face, let us just say that we think he was burnt out while making that film. In 2011, Flanagan broke onto the scene with Absentia. He wrote, directed and edited that film. He then went on to make Oculus, Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Before I Wake all in three years, writing, directing and editing every single one of them. Every one of these films (except Before I Wake) was great. We would even go as far as saying the trio of Oculus, Hush, and Ouija: Origin of Evil made Flanagan the most sought-after director in Hollywood. He then missed big time with Before I Wake. Now he has a story written for him in Gerald's Game, and an interesting one from King. We will have to see how he does with an adaptation, but we're expecting him to come back to form in a massive way.
3 SUCCESS: Hold the Dark
While Hold the Dark may not be filled with superstar names, everyone attached to this upcoming Netflix film is in a huge career boom as of this very moment. Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Riley Keough and Jeffrey Wright, this film tells the story of a missing boy in the Alaskan wilderness and a wolf hunter tracking him down. The film is to be written by Macon Blair and directed by Jeremy Saulnier. Both these men, childhood friends, are making major waves in the industry. Blair wrote the critically acclaimed films Blue Ruin and Green Room and directed the underappreciated gem, I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore. Saulnier directed both Blue Ruin and Green Room. If you saw what tension these two were able to create within one single room in Green Room, just imagine what they'll do with a wolf-infested wilderness.
2 SUCCESS: Mute
We promise that we're not just Alexander Skarsgard fanboys, we just think he's on the verge of breaking out in a huge way and Netflix's new film, Mute, is another in which he's slated to star in. This story follows a mute bartender as he tries to find his missing partner in a futuristic Blade Runner style city. The big draw here is the cast and crew. Skarsgård, Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux are all signed on to star and the director is Duncan Jones. If we can ignore Warcraft for a minute, which might have been a touch of a money grab, Jones is the man behind the totally underrated film, Moon. In fact, Mute is said to be the second part in a trilogy of sorts all set within the same universe as Moon.
1 SUCCESS: Little Evil
If you haven’t been living under a rock and have seen the absolutely wonderful horror comedy Tucker & Dale vs Evil then you know how talented director Eli Craig is. Well, ever since that beautiful film came out, we've been waiting for Craig to make another movie. It's finally about to come. Little Evil is another horror comedy that stars Adam Scott and Evangeline Lilly as newlyweds. Soon after their marriage, Scott's character realizes that his new wife's son is quite possibly the antichrist. While we may not know a whole lot more about this film, we strongly believe that Craig, with the help of Scott, Lilly and the great supporting cast will be able to pull this one off.
Sources: Wikipedia; IMDB; Netflix; Variety; THR