Mowgli Gives Netflix a Proper Family Focus
As wide-reaching as Netflix’s original content has been, they have placed less focus on cracking that ever-profitable family demographic. The most beloved Netflix TV shows and movies are decidedly adult in their content and intended audience. There are plenty of Netflix children’s cartoons on offer, but the service is lacking for a solid catalog of films and TV shows the whole family can enjoy together.
Mowgli is being marketed as a grittier take on The Jungle Book, but it’s still an adaptation of a beloved novel that’s intended for children. In the current climate of Hollywood where family-friendly fare seems oddly limited to superheroes, Disney live-action remakes and Minions, Mowgli presents Netflix with a unique opportunity. Not only can they build up slate of family films, but they can also acquire and invest in ones that don’t fit the traditional mold. Parents may shy away from taking their kids to see a scarier film at the cinema, but they’d be more comfortable showing it to the family from their own home. It would help Netflix stand out from the crowd in that regard. They can also market this as the cost-effective family entertainment: Less than $20 a month for Mowgli and much more versus upwards of $50 plus transport and snacks for a day at the cinema.
Mowgli Can Be a Proper Event For Netflix
Netflix has so much to offer when it comes to original movies: Multiple Oscar winning and nominated documentaries, critical darlings and festival fare like Mudbound, Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories, and foreign language dramas like First They Killed My Father. However, as many critics have noted, Netflix often has trouble appropriately promoting these films, and some have accused the service of burying new films in their expansive catalog without even letting users know that they exist. Netflix has only tried a handful of times to make a true event from their films: Bright got a major marketing boost, and The Cloverfield Paradox’s surprise drop after the Super Bowl was, if nothing else, a genius publicity move. Yet neither of these films captured the audiences’ full-force attention. Mowgli could help bridge that gap.
Mowgli is the sort of film that, if marketed well, could become a major event. It can be promoted online, on TV, and even in cinemas, the cast can do the talk show circuits and red carpets, and Netflix can build up to a release date where competition is low. They can create a viable alternative to the traditional cinema visit and whatever the major studios are offering at the time and they can sell it as a uniquely Netflix movie experience.
Andy Serkis’s Mowgli is currently slated to be released by Netflix some time in 2019, although further details have yet to be released. The streaming service’s long-term film plan has always been consistently underestimated, especially in comparison to their mighty television slate, but with decisions like this, Netflix is proving that they’re on the path to becoming a true Hollywood powerhouse.