Netflix to Release Judd Apatow-Produced Pee-Wee Herman Film Worldwide
Netflix is trying on a little red bow tie.
The online streaming service announced Tuesday that it has picked up Pee-Wee's Big Holiday, the new film from Paul Reubens and Judd Apatow featuring Reubens' iconic Pee-Wee Herman character, and will release it across all Netflix territories worldwide.
“Judd and I dreamt up this movie four years ago. The world was much different back then — Netflix was waiting by the mailbox for red envelopes to arrive. I’ve changed all that. The future is here. Get used to it. Bow tie is the new black,” Pee-Wee Herman (aka Reubens) said in a statement.
Reubens and Paul Rust (Comedy Bang! Bang!) co-wrote the screenplay for Pee-Wee's Big Holiday, with Apatow producing through his Apatow Productions banner. John Lee, whose directing credits include episodes of Broad City and Inside Amy Schumer, will helm the project in his feature film debut.
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Few details about the film's plot have been revealed, though Netflix said the movie kicks off with “a fateful meeting” between Pee-Wee and a “mysterious stranger,” which inspires Pee-Wee “to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny.”
The film had originally been set up with Universal. Netflix, however, could prove a better match for the project, given Pee-Wee's rabid fan base and the fact that Netflix already features Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and Big Top Pee-Wee on its service, as well as Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Reubens' children's TV show that ran on CBS from 1986-1991.
“We didn’t hesitate for a moment knowing that Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday was such a passion project for Paul and Judd, and we are delighted by the opportunity to introduce such a beloved character to a new generation,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement.
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Reubens' Pee-Wee Herman character, the child-like figure he originally created for Los Angeles improv group The Groundlings, first hit cinemas in 1985 with Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. The film, Tim Burton's feature debut, grossed around $41 million domestically. The 1988 follow-up, Big-Top Pee-Wee, from Grease director Randal Kleiser, grossed just $15 million.
Reubens has spent the last several years preparing for Pee-Wee’s comeback, starting with a 2011 Saturday Night Live sketch with Andy Samberg. Last October, Reubens went on The Tonight Show to talk about the movie with Jimmy Fallon
The Pee-Wee deal is Netflix's latest foray into original feature films. The company has a four-picture deal with Adam Sandler, which will include the upcoming western spoof The Ridiculous Six, and, in a groundbreaking agreement with The Weinstein Co., Netflix will release the sequel to Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon simultaneously on its online service and in select Imax theaters around the world on Aug. 28.