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Netflix to launch first Brazilian film

As the SVOD aims to make a bigger splash with subscribers internationally, it's begun work on a new Western featuring Brazilian talent.
August 9, 2016

Following disappointing Q2 results, Netflix is pushing forward with plans to win over new subscribers in the U.S. and internationally through a slate of original programming.

As part of that global expansion strategy, the SVOD has confirmed it will begin principal photography on its first Brazilian feature film, O Matador, later this month.

O Matador‘s themes and styles will cross boarders, chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement, combining local Brazilian talent with a genre long-beloved by audiences around the world: the Western.

The dark, action-adventure film tells the story of Shaggy (Diogo Morgado, Son of God), a feared killer in the state of Pernambuco. Raised by a local bandit named Seven Ears (Deto Montenegro, Colegas) from infancy, Shaggy grew up isolated from civilization in the wilderness. Now, as an adult, he heads into town in search for Seven Ears, who has disappeared. Instead finds himself at odds with the tyrannical Monsieur Blanchard, a Frenchman who runs the town and previously employed Seven Ears as an assassin.

Sarandos said the film is in line with Netflix’s programming strategy, which is to create stories from around the world that have universal themes that can appeal to viewers in any country — like Edha, the upcoming scripted drama from Argentina set in the fashion and music scene in Buenos Aires. It’s also committed to originals focusing on organized crime and espionage in Mumbai, and the global Panama Papers scandal.

Netflix has also already begun production on another Brazilian original, an as-yet-untitled series based on the “Operation Car Wash” corruption probe.

The cast also includes Nill Marcondes (A Frente Fria que a Chuva Traz; Man of the Year), Maria de Medeiros (The Forbidden Room, Pulp Fiction) and Etienne Chicot (The Da Vinci CodeTranssiberian). It’s directed by Marcelo Galvão (A Despedidas, Colegas).

In the second quarter of 2015, the SVOD struggled with subscriber growth both at home and abroad. Internationally, it added 1.52 million subscribers outside of the U.S. from April to June, falling short of the predicted two million.

The Latin American market is particularly vital to streaming services. A recent study by New York-based market research firm GfK showed that people in Brazil, as well as Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina, are some of the most eager adopters of digital media. Those surveyed said they spend an average of 17 hours and 49 minutes per week consuming media on cell phones and tablets, a massive increase from 2012. Another study by IMS Group and ComScore of the same region found that Gen Z Latin Americans spend an average of 13 hours per week watching video online.

Pictured: Diogo Morgado in Son of God

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