Another of the Netflix “Geek Week” trailers is The School for Good & Evil, starring Charlize Theron and Kerry Washington and directed by Paul Feig. It’s based on Soman Chainani’s YA series about the school that trains the heroes and villains of fairy tales, with Washington playing the good princess professor, Clarissa Dovey, while Theron stars as the villainess emeritus, Lady Lesso. This is familiar ground for Theron, who chewed plenty of scenery as the evil queen in those Snow White and the Huntsman movies a while back. The story focuses on two young girls brought to the school, Agatha (Sofia Wylie) and Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso), childhood friends who find themselves on opposite sides of a curse and fate when “ugly” Agatha is deposited in the school for good, and princess wannabe Sophie lands in the school for bad. The concept is basically “what if Wicked, but good”.
If this hits, as Enola Holmes did, Good & Evil could be a new franchise for Netflix, just like Enola Holmes. But this trailer gives me Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children vibes. It’s not even that that is a bad movie, it’s fine, but it’s not a movie people talk about, right? And this is the thing Netflix has to learn to do, they have to figure out how to make their films cultural moments. But even with Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Paul Feig, and a popular YA novel series, Good & Evil doesn’t look like the thing that’s going to break through, largely because the YA wave is over—good luck with that Hunger Games prequel, Lionsgate. Also, seeing this trailer reminds me that Netflix has yet to deliver on a sequel for The Old Guard. They’ve already had Charlize Theron in a hit—whatever qualifies as a “hit” in Netflix’s secret formula—but that sequel is still in development. The Old Guard and Crazy Rich Asians have this in common; what is going on with those sequels?