Netflix Is Betting $200 Million on the Success of This New Movie

Ryan Gosling in Netflix's 'The Gray Man'
Ryan Gosling in Netflix’s ‘The Gray Man’ (Image credit: Paul Abel/Netflix)

Film The Gray Man, with Ryan Gosling as a CIA operative stuck in a federal penitentiary and Billy Bob Thornton as his handler, premieres on Netflix July 22. The movie arrived in theaters July 15. 

“When the CIA’s most skilled operative — whose true identity is known to none — accidentally uncovers dark agency secrets, a psychopathic former colleague puts a bounty on his head, setting off a global manhunt by international assassins,” goes the logline. 

Chris Evans, Ana de Armas and Regé-Jean Page are also in the cast. 

Gosling is the Gray Man and he’s being hunted by Evans’ Lloyd Hansen, a former cohort at the CIA. 

Anthony and Joe Russo directed the film. Their work includes Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame

The Gray Man is Netflix’s most-expensive film, according to The New York Times, with a budget around $200 million. It hopes to build a franchise around the movie. 

The producers are Joe Roth, Jeffery Kirschenbaum, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Mike Larocca and Chris Castaldi. Executive producers are Patrick Newall, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Jake Aust, Angela Russo-Otstot, Geoff Haley, Zack Roth and Palak Patel.

Mark Greaney wrote the novel that The Gray Man is based on. 

A review on RogerEbert.com is mixed. “Some of the action sequences, especially an insane one in a town square, can be pretty effective, but most of the film is shot at such a bizarrely low light that it dulls even the incredible screen presence of the undeniably charismatic Gosling, Evans, and de Armas,” it reads. “Seriously, whoever thought the right lighting for most of a globe-trotting action flick was the low light palette of Ozark deserves a cinematic jail sentence. The Gray Man should be joyously over-the-top if it wants to be a new Fast & Furious or Bourne franchise but with the exception of a wisecracking Evans, everything here feels so programmatically dull.”

The Gray Man scored a 52% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, representing critics, while the general audience put it much higher at 90%. 

Netflix lost close to 1 million subscribers in the second quarter, the network reported in an earnings call earlier this week. ■

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.