‘Hit Man’: Netflix Buys Richard Linkater’s Assassin Dramedy

Netflix has acquired Richard Linklater and Glen Powell’s buzzy “Hit Man,” TheWrap has learned. With a reported payout of $20 million, this marks the second major buy for the streaming giant amid this year’s Venice and Toronto film festivals following their reported $11 million acquisition of Anna Kendrick’s “Woman of the Hour.”

“Hit Man” stars Powell, who co-wrote the screenplay with Linklater based on a Skip Hollandsworth-penned “Texas Monthly” article. The film concerns an alleged master assassin who is secretly working for the cops. Adria Arjona plays an apparently battered wife who inspires enough sympathy from the faux killer to make him consider doing the job for real.

Ben Croll wrote in his review for TheWrap that the picture “is a deliriously entertaining star vehicle, a throwback to the low-concept, high-reward studio crowd-pleasers built around a comic persona and designed to showcase a gifted performer’s range.”

It’s one of several high-profile hitman movies debuting over the last month, alongside David Fincher’s Netflix original “The Killer” and Michael Keaton’s “Knox Goes Away.”

Moreover, if the price tag is true, that will make it one of Netflix’s two $20 million pick-ups this year. They paid $20 million for Chloe Domont’s financial sector-set romantic drama “Fair Play” back in January. They have thus far notched two of the only major buys at the first two awards season festivals.

Without presuming a pattern from a few buys, the streamer has an advantage amid the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Writers and actors are currently forbidden from engaging in prerelease promotion. However, Netflix movies don’t tend to need a deluge of promotion. Netflix’s most effective marketing is the film’s thumbnail adorning the front page on the first day of release. Amid belt-tightening and fewer original films, it pays for Netflix to flex its buying power as a show of force.

Directed by Linklater, “Hitman” also stars Austin Amelio, Retta and Molly Bernard. Linklater and Powell produced alongside Mike Blizzard, Jason Bateman and Michael Costigan.

Executive producers are 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. The picture was shot on location in New Orleans.

Deadline first reported the news.

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