Last month, Netflix picked up two movies fresh out of theaters and made them available to stream for no more than the price of a subscription. The streamer licensed Where the Crawdads Sing and The Bad Guys, both of which were in theaters in 2022. Both saw big surges in viewership on Netflix, snatching spots in the Top 10 list.
Netflix has struggled to compete with streamers that have their own recognizable intellectual property in the last few years, so nabbing movies like this is definitely a good sign for the company. These were major releases – Where the Crawdads Sing is an adaptation of a 2018 novel by Delia Owens, and lays out a years-long mystery-thriller plot that will have viewers on the edges of their seats. The movie was a critical darling at two film festivals earlier this year and went on to be a box-office success, grossing $136.2 million against a reported $24 million budget (per The Numbers).
The screenplay was written by Lucy Alibar and the movie was directed by Olivia Newman. It stars Gentleman Jack alum Daisy Edgar-Jones as Kya, a young woman living with her in an impoverished community around a marsh in North Carolina. It traces her life from her childhood in the 1950s to her adulthood, with all the twists and turns along the way. Where the Crawdads Sing also got a big promotional bump from Taylor Swift, who wrote and performed the original song "Carolina" for the soundtrack.
Meanwhile, The Bad Guys is a star-studded computer-animated comedy that premiered back in April. It is an adaptation of a children's graphic novel by Aaron Blabey, with a screenplay by Etan Cohen and directed by Pierre Perifel. Its stars include Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Awkwafina, Craig Robinson, Anthony Ramos, Richard Ayoade, Zazie Beetz, Alex Borstein, and Lilly Singh. The movie makes parody allusions to heist movies for adults as well as other children's media with anthropomorphized animals.
The Bad Guys had been delayed repeatedly over the last few years, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Universal also pulled the release of the film in Russia due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. After a successful run at the box office in the spring (grossing $250 million), the movie was released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital in June. Finally, it moved to subscription-based streaming in July, but not to Netflix. More predictably, Universal favored its in-house streaming service for the film, Peacock.
Peacock and Netflix have a unique deal in place for The Bad Guys. For some reason, the movie was available on Peacock for four months, then moved to Netflix on Nov. 1. It will be available there for 10 months before moving back to Peacock for four more months, completing the 18-month contract. It is available on Netflix now alongside Where the Crawdads Sing.