When the first trailers for Netflix’s live-action adaptation of "Death Note" were released, a lot of fans of the anime/manga source material weren’t happy with the way it moved the setting from Japan to Seattle, and also chose not to carry over the central characters’ Japanese ethnicities. In August of 2017 the American "Death Note" was released through the streaming service and left preexisting fans of the franchise underwhelmed at best, and then, in a continuing downward trend for how much they seemed to care, has largely been forgotten a year later.
But despite all that, Netflix is ready to open up its Death Book again, as The Hollywood Reporter has casually let it be known that a sequel is on the way.
▼ Trailer for Netflix’s 2017 "Death Note"
Netflix itself hasn’t given the sequel any fanfare. However, slipped in among a discussion of the mixed returns the company has been getting in response to its movie development ventures, the Hollywood Reporter diagnoses part of the problem as “In a marketplace increasingly driven by known intellectual property, the streamer has few, if any, brand-name film franchises despite spending $8 billion this year on programming.” It then goes on to say that: “Among properties it already owns, Netflix is developing a sequel to 2017’s horror-thriller 'Death Note,' which [Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted] Sarandos has called a 'sizable' success, with Greg Russo writing the script.”
Since Netflix doesn’t publicly release statistics for its movies and series, there’s no way to numerically gauge what, to Sarandos, qualifies "Death Note" as a “sizable success,” either in terms of viewership or generated revenue. Considering that "Death Note" was a fairly high-profile release for Netflix’s original content team last summer, though, one would think the company had high expectations for its adaptation, which in Sarandos’ mind were subsequently met.
As mentioned above, the 2017 "Death Note’s" scriptwriting team of Charles and Vlas Parlapanides plus Jeremy Slater has been replaced by Greg Russo, who’s also attached as a writer to an in-development reboot of the live-action "Resident Evil" film series as well as a new live-action "Mortal Kombat" movie. It’s not known if Adam Wingard, director of the 2017 "Death Note" will return, or if he’s got his hands full with Hollywood’s new "Godzilla vs King Kong," which is slated for a 2020 release.
At the time of the 2017 "Death Note’s" release, Wingard told reporters “Hopefully people will watch it and Netflix will order a sequel. They definitely are ready to. They just need people to watch it.” Barring the possibility that Netflix has just become desperate to get an original live-action film franchise going, it seems like enough people did watch the American "Death Note," and since Wingard says he originally pitched a three-film adaptation to the company, if enough people watch the second there might be even more to come.
Sources: The Hollywood Reporter via IGN via Hachima Kiko
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