Netflix strikes again.
The streaming leviathan is closing in on a blockbuster deal for “Bubbles,” a stop-motion animated film about Michael Jackson’s pet chimpanzee that is selling at this year’s Cannes Film Festival market. The simian story is brought to audiences by Taika Waititi, who directed “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and the upcoming “Thor: Ragnarok.” It’s co-directored by Mark Gustafson (“Fantastic Mr. Fox”).
Deadline first reported the news. An insider says the pact is for worldwide rights and the figure is just under $20 million.
Netflix is a big presence at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. For the first time, the streaming service has movies playing in competition — Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” and Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja.” On the festival circuit, Netflix has been an active buyer, snapping up the likes of “Mudbound,” “Icarus,” and “The Incredible Jessica James.”
CAA handled the sale.
The estate of Michael Jackson released the following statement on Monday regarding the project and others like it:
To clear up any confusion or misperceptions about unsanctioned Michael Jackson projects currently in the news — including a Lifetime television movie and an animated film script recently purchased by Netflix — the Estate of Michael Jackson does not license or permit the use of any rights it owns, including to Michael’s music, images, video and films, for use in unauthorized works seeking to exploit Michael’s legacy. The Estate itself has numerous projects in development, all of which respect, honor and celebrate Michael’s life and legacy along with his extraordinary artistry that touched fans throughout the world. When the executors are ready to announce them, they will. As Michael said countless times about his own work, the quality goes in before the name goes on.