Universal and Jordan Peele Board Dev Patel’s ‘Monkey Man’ for April Release in Theaters

Jordan Peele and Universal have come aboard to release Dev Patel’s directorial debut, Monkey Man.

The completed action-thriller — which was previously set up at Netflix — will hit cinemas April 4, Peele revealed Friday when introducing the first official trailer.

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Insiders say Peele had a chance to see the movie, and was so taken with Patel’s vision that he believed it deserved a theatrical release. Universal will market and distribute Monkey Man through its feature film deal with Peele’s Monkeypaw banner. The film has been described as akin to John Wick in Mumbai.

In addition to directing, Patel also stars in the film, which is inspired by the legend of Hanuman, an icon embodying strength and courage. Patel plays Kid, an anonymous young man who ekes out a meager living in an underground fight club where, night after night, wearing a gorilla mask, he is beaten bloody by more popular fighters for cash. Ultimately, he sets out on a quest for vengeance against the corrupt leaders who murdered his mother and continue to systemically victimize the poor and powerless.

Patel shot the film in Mumbai. The international cast includes Sharlto Copley, Sobhita Dhulipala, Pitobash, Vipin Sharma, Ashwini Kalsekar, Adithi Kalkunte, Sikandar Kher and Makarand Deshpande.

Netflix reportedly acquired rights to Monkey Man in spring 2021 for around $30 million, but the status of that deal is unclear. Sources say Netflix wanted global rights, but that some international territories may have already been sold.

Monkey Man is produced by Patel, Jomon Thomas, Peele, Win Rosenfeld, Ian Cooper, Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee, Christine Haebler and Anjay Nagpal.

More to come.

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