Netflix unveiled a new trailer for Andy Serkis’ Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle Wednesday night and announced the film will be released in limited theaters on Nov. 29 before hitting the streaming platform on Dec. 7
After multiple production delays, the Warner Bros. movie was sold to Netflix earlier this year, giving the streaming platform a star-studded vehicle to release during the festive season.The Lord of the Rings actor Serkis directed Mowgli, adapted from the darker source material of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book and also plays Baloo the bear in the film, while Christian Bale plays the panther Bagheera, Cate Blanchett captures the snake Kaa, and Benedict Cumberbatch portrays the menacing tiger Shere Khan. Rohan Chand plays Mowgli, and Matthew Rhys and Freida Pinto also have roles.
Mowgli steers clear of Disney’s The Jungle Book and opts for a darker, grittier tale of a human baby left in an Indian jungle to be raised by a pack of wolves, Bagheera, and Baloo. Threatened by Shere Khan, Bagheera tells Mowgli he must return to the world of man for his own safety, but when he is captured by local villagers, the transition from the animal world to the human world is a difficult one for the boy hero.
The film makes use of Serkis’ pioneering motion-capture work that he has cultivated since his days playing Gollum on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and in the Planet of the Apes franchise.
Last month, Netflix announced that it would change up its release strategy for certain films, specifically Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and Bird Box starring Sandra Bullock, allowing those to premiere in theaters before debuting on Netflix. Cuaron’s Spanish-language Roma, a strong awards contender, will roll out in theaters starting Nov. 21 before its Netflix premiere on Dec. 7.
The new release strategy allows Netflix, which has disrupted cinema-going habits over the past few years, to forge partnerships with movie theaters.