5. Six Underground
Michael Bay is coming to Netflix; the highly divisive auteur of bombastic carnage may have hung up his boots on the Transformers series but there's no chance of him slowing down any time soon. Six Underground will follow a team of criminals (headed by Ryan Reynolds) who fake their own deaths and form an elite vigilante squad designed to target the world's most notorious criminals. In addition to Bay, Zombieland and Deadpool screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are also involved with Six Underground. Will this film see Bay go in a more actively comedic direction? Either way, Bay on Netflix is another sign of the streaming service's continued efforts to dominate the big budget market in a way that traditional studios are refraining from nowadays.
4. The King
Outlaw King may not have set the world on fire as Netflix had hoped it would, but it still signaled the platform’s evolution into more serious storytelling on a grand scale. And what says that more than Shakespeare? David Michôd and Joel Edgerton team up to translate the Bard's most iconic history plays for the big screen in The King. Timothée Chalamet is Henry V, Ben Mendelsohn is Henry IV, and a murderer's row of talent are their respective courts, including Robert Pattinson and Edgerton himself as Falstaff. Historical epic combined with literary prestige and a cast headlined by a beloved Oscar nominee could spell great things for Netflix.
3. The Last Thing He Wanted
Dee Rees helped Netflix to break through the Oscar ceiling with Mudbound, a critically acclaimed drama that landed four Academy Award nominations, thus proving that a Netflix movie could indeed bypass the traditional studio system and still garner industry legitimacy. While they’ll be hoping to repeat that this coming awards season with Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, Rees will return to Netflix with another potential critical darling. Based on the novel by the iconic writer Joan Didion, The Last Thing He Wanted follows a journalist (Anne Hathaway) who quits her job covering the 1984 Presidential Election to care for her arms dealer father (Willem Dafoe). Ben Affleck will play Hathaway's love interest.
2. The Laundromat
Steven Soderbergh remains intensely prolific as a filmmaker. Since returning to cinema following his brief retirement, the Oscar and Palme D’Or winner has continued to cover a wide array of genres across various levels of budget, star power and mainstream appeal. Of his two Netflix films, The Laundromat seems more traditionally prestigious, as he fictionalizes the story of the journalists who uncovered the Panama Papers and the various tax avoidance schemes used by the world's rich and famous. The ensemble cast includes Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, David Schwimmer, and Will Forte.
1. First Ladies
Jennifer Aniston has found new creative ground as an actress, via Netflix, thanks to films like the immensely charming teen comedy Dumplin'. First Ladies signals a more adult direction with a unique twist on a familiar tale. Aniston will play the first woman President of the United States, while comedian Tig Notaro will play her wife. It’s the kind of story we consistently hear is unmarketable or would never be made in the studio system, and what is Netflix if not a platform to try those new ideas? Notaro, whose stand-up specials are available on Netflix, will co-write as well as star.