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Is ‘Bright’ the most polarising film of 2017

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Two critics often yield three opinions, but you’d be hard-pressed to find takes as divergent as those on offer for the new movie “Bright,” which comes out Friday.

“Fantastic. ambitious yet astonishingly well-executed… brilliant,” wrote Variety.

“There’s boring, there’s bad, and then there’s Bright, a movie so profoundly awful that Republicans will probably try to pass it into law over Christmas break,” said Indiewire. Those reviews come from two respected trade publications. And they encapsulate how uneasily the entertainment business is grappling with Bright and what it represents. Directed by David Ayer, Bright is a bona fide big-budget Hollywood release. It features a shiny hook — a police drama in a supernatural parallel universe — stars Will Smith and cost between $90 million and $130 million to produce, depending on which insider one believes.

Ayer is a polarising figure in his own right, having directed the beloved gritty cop drama End of Watch and the maligned superhero ensemble adventure Suicide Squad. But the most divisive aspect ofBright is who produced it: Netflix.

The upstart studio paid more than $3 million just for the script, by the hot screenwriter Max Landis, and decided to make Bright a fixture of its feature-film efforts. Those efforts aren’t, well, dim. You may think of Netflix as the go-to place for hit serialised shows like House of Cards and Stranger Things. But it’s really, really intent on dominating the feature-film business, which is why it hired the producer and former Universal executive Scott Stuber, who has suggested he might make as many 50 or 60 movies each year (the average big Hollywood studio makes a fraction of that) and spend the kind of money studios usually only spend if there’s a Marvel character involved.–Agencies

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