Netflix has acquired the global rights to Ciarán Foy‘s horror movie Eli from Paramount Pictures and will release the film in 2019, Collider has exclusively learned.
Trevor Macy produced the film via his Intrepid Pictures banner along with John Zaozirny, while Matt Alvarez executive produced Eli alongside Melinda Nishioka and Jenny Hinkey. The script is credited to David Chirchirillo, Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing.
Charlie Shotwell (Captain Fantastic) stars as the title character, a young boy who’s plagued by an unknown, debilitating illness that requires him to live completely sealed off from the outside world. After exhausting every option, his parents put their trust—and Eli’s life—in the hands of a doctor whose experimental treatments may be the boy’s last hope. As Eli undergoes the intense process that could potentially cure him, he begins to be haunted by experiences that force him to question who he can trust.
Lili Taylor (The Nun) also stars as the doctor alongside Kelly Reilly (True Detective), Max Martini (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Stranger Things breakout Sadie Sink. Meanwhile, Foy is best known as the director of Sinister 2, which he landed on the strength of his 2012 indie thriller Citadel starring Aneurin Barnard.
Sources say that Eli has been testing well with audiences and that its move to Paramount may have been the result of a regime change at the studio, as the film was acquired in October 2017 by Brian Robbins, who recently exited his post at Paramount Players to run Nickelodeon for Viacom. Given its lack of marquee stars, Eli may have posed a marketing challenge as a theatrical release for Paramount, so this is really a win all-around. Not only does the studio make a tidy profit, but Netflix picks up a solid movie to satisfy its genre-loving subscribers, and the Eli filmmakers can sleep easy knowing the movie will find its audience on Netflix.
Of course, Netflix is no stranger to picking up Paramount titles, having acquired international on the Natalie Portman sci-fi movie Annihilation, and having made a splash with its release of The Cloverfield Paradox immediately after the Super Bowl. Netflix also acquired the Michael Pena-led sci-fi movie Extinction from Universal.
“I’ve had a lot of really good experiences with genre material on Netflix and I’m really proud for them to have this movie,” said Macy, who has a long history with the streaming service, having produced the Mike Flanagan films Hush, Before I Wake and Gerald’s Game, as well as the hit series The Haunting of Hill House. The success of that series (and Stranger Things) really illustrates how genre material has thrived on Netflix.
“We’re super excited to be working with Netflix and know they’ll make excellent partners. I can’t wait for everyone to see what a great film Ciarán has made and the amazing performances of the actors,” said Zaozirny.
Eli will hit Netflix sometime next year and while there’s no firm release date yet, horror has proven to be a year-round business of late. The streaming service’s upcoming releases include Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and the Sandra Bullock thriller Bird Box.