How Glen Powell’s ‘Hit Man’ is Redefining Hollywood’s Blockbuster Formula

In a cinematic landscape dominated by sequels and franchise films, Glen Powell’s latest venture, “Hit Man,” emerges as a beacon of originality. This action comedy, now a significant hit on Netflix, showcases the challenges and eventual triumphs of introducing fresh narratives to a sometimes skeptical Hollywood.

From Rejection to Netflix Success: How Glen Powell's 'Hit Man' is Redefining Hollywood's Blockbuster Formula
Glen Powell Redefines Hollywood

The Struggle to Bring New Ideas to Life

Despite the recent success of “Top Gun: Maverick,” Glen Powell and director Richard Linklater faced considerable obstacles in pitching “Hit Man” to studio executives. In an era where blockbuster films and proven IPs reign supreme, their original screenplay did not fit the typical mold, leading to multiple rejections from studios.

You don’t get fired for doing a sequel or an origin story, something that already exists. You don’t get in trouble for what’s obvious and commercial.

Their persistence paid off when, after an independent production and a premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, Netflix acquired the rights to “Hit Man” for $20 million. This acquisition not only marked a significant turnaround but also underscored the potential for original content to find a home in prominent streaming services.

From Rejection to Netflix Success: How Glen Powell's 'Hit Man' is Redefining Hollywood's Blockbuster Formula
Hit Man: A Netflix Triumph

Netflix’s Bet on Innovation

“Hit Man,” which sits at an impressive 97% on the Tomatometer, has not only added to Powell’s growing reputation but also highlighted Netflix’s willingness to embrace innovative projects. Initially, studios were hesitant about the film’s premise, which features a fake hitman rather than the typical real hitman narrative. Linklater recalls the original studio demands for a more conventional story, emphasizing the industry’s preference for familiarity over innovation.

The film’s success following its festival premiere demonstrated the audience’s readiness for unique stories, a sentiment echoed by Netflix’s enthusiasm for the project. Powell and Linklater, who wrote the screenplay without initial compensation, have proven that creative risks can lead to substantial rewards.

From Rejection to Netflix Success: How Glen Powell's 'Hit Man' is Redefining Hollywood's Blockbuster Formula
From Rejection to Blockbuster

A Turning Point for Hollywood?

The reception of “Hit Man” and other original films in 2024 suggests a potential shift in Hollywood’s approach to filmmaking. As blockbuster productions continue to face financial uncertainties, the industry may increasingly turn to original, compelling stories to attract audiences. This change could signify a new era where creativity and innovation are not only appreciated but sought after by both filmmakers and studios alike.

“Hit Man’s” journey from concept to Netflix hit serves as an inspiring tale for creators aiming to introduce fresh ideas to a sometimes rigid industry. With the support of platforms like Netflix and the backing of visionary filmmakers, the cinematic world may well be on the cusp of embracing originality as the new norm.

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