Netflix has bought the rights to Andy Serkis’s Mowgli, and the latest adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book will make its debut on the streaming platform sometime in 2019, The Hollywood Reporter said.
The Warner Bros production was to have been released on October 19. “By moving to Netflix, Mowgli will at least be able to avoid box office comparisons to Favreau’s Jungle Book, which won the Oscar for visual effects,” The Hollywood Reporter commented. Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, made in 2016 and starring Neel Sethi as Mowgli, was a global blockbuster.
Serkis had promised a darker version of Kipling’s tales of the feral child brought up by wolves. The star cast of Mowgli includes Rohan Chand as the titular hero, Serkis as Baloo the bear, Benedict Cumberbatch as the tiger Shere Khan, Cate Blanchett as the python Kaa and Christian Bale as the leopard Bagheera.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Serkis got attached to the production in 2014, around the time Disney sanctioned Favreau’s movie. Mowgli was initially supposed to be out in 2016, but even as its release got delayed, The Jungle Book hit theatres in April that year.
“Ours is for a slightly older audience,” Serkis had told Vulture in an interview. “It’s a story of an outsider, someone who is trying to accept the laws and customs of a particular way of living and then has to adapt to another culture, a human culture, which of course he should be able to adapt to, because this is what he is.”