Adam McKay has been making the rounds lately with a pitch for an allegorical dramedy, and it sounds pretty interesting. The film, dubbed Average Height, Average Build, is said to be about a serial killer who gets into politics in an effort to change the laws to be more, well, murder-friendly. McKay’s got Robert Pattinson attached to lead what will likely be a starry cast, with Robert Downey, Jr. and more in the mix. Good stuff.
But as with most McKay projects, the budget is high for a political dramedy, and despite the fact that his past three movies as a director have generated 17 total Oscar nominations, McKay hasn’t been a huge box office draw since he left studio comedies—though Don’t Look Up, starring tile-friendly Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, is Netflix’s second most-watched movie of all time, with 360 million hours viewed.
One executive who heard the pitch told me this week that he wanted to do it but then offered a version of, In this economy? The McKay project will almost certainly land, probably at a streamer (though a Netflix source told me they’re not currently bidding). But it’s the same issue we saw with the $150 million Nancy Meyers rom-com, which still hasn’t found a home and likely would have been a pretty quick yes at Netflix just a short time ago. Now, after years of offering veritable blank checks to top creators, nearly everyone is thinking twice about the bigger, riskier swings—the kind that lead to home runs yet just as often lead to strike outs. You can pick your reason: The Great Netflix Correction; the expectation that Bob Iger is about to drop Mickey’s Cost-Cutting Ax at Disney; a seemingly inevitable writers strike; franchise-mania; the fact that the L.A. weather now makes Seattle feel like South Beach. (That last one is just me.)