Streaming giant take over project starring Robert De Niro as mob hitman Frank Sheeran after directors film Silence underperforms
In its latest statement of film business intent, streaming giant Netflix has bought worldwide rights to Martin Scorseses upcoming The Irishman, which had been set up at Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures.
No figures have been announced on the value of the deal but according to a report in Indiewire, which industry sources later confirmed to Variety, Netflix has acquired the rights once held by Paramount in North America and STX Entertainment in the rest of the world (for which the latter had paid $50m in 2016).
The change of backer is thought to have been a result of the disappointing commercial performance of Scorseses most recent film, the intense historical drama Silence. With a $46m production budget, Silence has so far taken just over $7m in the US in stark contrast to Scorseses previous film for Paramount, The Wolf of Wall Street, which took $392m worldwide. The poor returns for Silence are thought to have contributed to Brad Greys recent decision to step down as Paramount CEO.
The Irishman is another long-gestating Scorsese project, a biopic of Frank the Irishman Sheeran, a mob hitman who claimed to have been involved in the notorious murder of union boss Jimmy Hoffa in 1975. Robert De Niro is due to star, and will apparently be aged down to 30 years old using CGI. The Irishman is due to start shooting later this year, with a projected release date in late 2019.