Netflix reportedly cancels Will Smith movie — but not because of ‘the incident’

Will Smith attends the European Premeire of 'Bright' held at BFI Southbank on December 15, 2017 in London, England
(Image credit: John Phillips/John Phillips/Getty Images)

Another day, another Netflix cancellation. Will Smith's movie sequel Bright 2 is reportedly the latest to join the long list, although we're not sure that's such a bad thing.

The news comes from Bloomberg reporter Lucas Shaw, who tweeted about another Smith project being delayed in the wake of the now-infamous Oscars slap, then followed it up by revealing that Bright would no longer get a sequel. This is, apparently, "unrelated to the incident" though.

If true — and we have no reason to doubt Shaw on this — it joins an ever-growing list of cancellations at the troubled streaming service.

Last week, we heard that a long-in-development animated adaptation of comic book series Bone has reportedly been canceled before the first episode even aired and the tally of Netflix canceled shows this year alone includes Archive 81, The Baby-Sitters Club, Gentefied and On the Verge. To that list you can now add Raising Dion, canceled by Netflix despite an 83% Rotten Tomatoes score.

At the same time, Bright 2 being shelved, if indeed it has been, would hardly be a major surprise.

For starters, the original movie sucked — big time. The 2017 film has a paltry 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and as someone who suffered through it, I might suggest that's generous. 

Directed by Max Landis and starring Smith and Joel Edgerton, Bright is an urban fantasy in which humans coexist uneasily with orcs and elves. Smith is an LAPD cop, while Edgerton plays his orc partner. 

It's actually a pretty neat concept, and one that allowed the story to explore racism and police corruption, but unfortunately it just wasn't very good. As the Chicago Sun-Times put it, "Bright is basically a tired buddy-cop movie dressed up in bizarre trappings."

It was, however, very successful — to the extent that Netflix co-CEO Ted Hastings revealed it "has become one of our most-viewed original titles ever" just a month after its release. Hastings also declared that "We're thrilled with this performance and are planning a sequel as well as additional investment in original films." 

And indeed, as recently as last summer Variety reported that a script for Bright 2 was close to being finalized, and that Smith and Edgerton were both onboard. 

However, it was also very expensive — $90m, according to one report — and Netflix has just confirmed its first subscriber drop in a decade. With consumers around the world facing tightening budgets, that drop is predicted to grow by 2 million over the next few months. 

Netflix reportedly has plans to increase revenue by cracking down on account sharing and introducing an ad-funded tier, and it could also experiment with the nuclear option of ending binge-watching. However, with Netflix stock plunging Bright 2 may just be too expensive for the service to take a bet on.

Plus, while Smith's Oscars incident may not be the direct cause of the reported cancellation, it can't have helped either. Still, we won't exactly mourn the demise of Bright 2 and will instead console ourselves with the 5 best new movies to stream this week on HBO Max, Netflix and more.

In other streaming news, fans of The Wire may want to watch We Own This City online, while Starz is true to its name pulling in Sean Penn and Julia Roberts: you can watch Gaslit online starting this weekend.

Marc McLaren

Formerly Editor in Chief (U.K.) on Tom’s Guide, Marc oversaw all gaming, streaming, audio, TV, entertainment, how-to and cameras coverage, and was also responsible for the site’s U.K.-focused output. He is now U.K. Editor in Chief on TechRadar. Marc previously edited the tech website Stuff and has tested and written about phones, tablets, wearables, streaming boxes, smart home devices, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, games, TVs, cameras and much more. He also spent years on a music magazine, where his duties mainly involved spoiling other people’s fun, and on a car magazine. An avid photographer, he likes nothing better than taking pictures of very small things (bugs, his daughters) or very big things (distant galaxies). When he gets time, he also enjoys gaming (console and mobile), cycling and attempting to watch as much sport as any human can. He's also fallen in love with Wordle over the past six months and is the author of our today's Wordle answer column, in which he supplies hints and strategy tips for the mega-popular word game. Given he's completed every single Wordle so far and only lost once, and analyzed every Wordle answer in search of patterns, he's well qualified to help you safeguard your streak.

  • Cleocatra
    admin said:
    Looks like there won't be a sequel to Netflix's Will Smith-starring Bright, with the second film reportedly canceled.

    Netflix reportedly just canceled this Will Smith movie : Read more
    Bright was great. Sad there will be no Netflix sequel And they wonder why people are cancelling their service. (yeah, sure - not related to the Oscars event.....yeah, right)