Courtesy of TIFF
Netflix shelled out a staggering $20 million for “Hit Man,” a (sort of) true-crime comedy from director Richard Linklater and star Glen Powell. The streaming service has acquired rights in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and other key international territories.
The movie, which played to enthusiastic crowds at Venice and Toronto film festivals, has been one of the few notable sales from this year’s fall festival circuit. Netflix also acquired Anna Kendrick’s directorial debut “Woman of the Hour” out of TIFF for $11 million, while A24 nabbed the Colman Domingo-led “Sing Sing.” But deals have been slow to come together for other movies on the market, such as Chris Pine’s “Poolman” or Viggo Mortensen’s “The Dead Don’t Hurt.”
“Hit Man” follows Powell as Gary Johnson, a part-time teacher who moonlights as a mysterious gun man for hire. But there’s a catch in hiring him to off cheating spouses or abusive bosses — he’s working for the cops. When he breaks protocol to help a desperate woman (Adria Arjona of “Morbius” and “6 Underground” fame) trying to flee an abusive husband, he finds himself becoming one of his false personas, falling for the woman and flirting with turning into a criminal himself.
The film reunites Linklater and Powell, who worked together on “Everybody Wants Some!!” and Netflix’s animated sci-fi drama “Apollo 10 1/2.” In addition to directing, Linklater adapted the screenplay with Powell from a Texas Monthly article by Skip Hollandsworth. Netflix hasn’t solidified release plans, but the film is expected to play in theaters before landing on the streamer.
“Hit Man” has been well received by critics, with Variety’s Owen Gleiberman calling the film “a true-life screwball underworld romantic philosophical thriller comedy noir about the world’s unlikeliest undercover agent.” He praised the performance of Powell, saying he has “an offbeat leading-man vibe” and “looks like Guy Pearce flecked with Ryan Gosling, with a slightly goofy grin that radiates the purest sincerity.”
Producers were Mike Blizzard, Linklater, Powell, Jason Bateman and Michael Costigan. Executive producers include AGC’s Stuart Ford, Zach Garrett and Miguel A. Palos, Jr., Cinetic Media’s John Sloss, ShivHans Pictures’ Shivani Rawat and Julie Goldstein, Monarch Media’s Vicky Patel, Steve Barnett and Alan Powell, and Texas Monthly’s Scott Brown and Megan Creydt.
Deadline Hollywood first reported news of the sale.
Variety's Rebecca Rubin contributed to this post.