Monkey Man Wasn’t Even Supposed To Go To Theaters. How Jordan Peele Made It Happen


Dev Patel’s film debut in one of the 2000s’ best movies, Slumdog Millionaire, was considered a Cinderella story in almost going straight to DVD, only to become a theatrically-released Best Picture winner. The British actor’s directorial debut almost tells the same story, as it was originally going to be a Netflix new release until Jordan Peele stepped in to bring it to theaters.

Back in 2021, the action flick Monkey Man had a $30 million deal at Netflix, but sources told Deadline that after the streamer bought the movie, it felt the action thriller would be too rough for the Indian market, not to mention that its co-financier Bron Studios went bankrupt. That’s all the more reason why Dev Patel made sure to mention at the TCL Chinese Theatre that filmmaker Jordan Peele saved his movie, saying:

He took us from this thing that was brushed under the carpet to putting us on top of the mantel piece.

Jordan Peele had a lot of faith in Dev Patel’s directorial debut. Something important to know about Monkey Man is that the Nope director himself saw Patel’s movie and was really impressed with it, so much so that he got his production company, Monkeypaw Productions, to encourage Universal to buy Monkey Man for $10 million. Finding a home on the big screen will do better financial wonders for Patel’s movie compared to streaming. Theatrical movies tend to make more money from the box office numbers of multiple theaters compared to what’s accumulated for exclusivity on one streaming platform.

It turns out that Dev Patel and Jordan Peele have something in common about their starts in the entertainment industry. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel actor explained that the Get Out director seeing the skills of another upcoming director brought him back to his own beginnings.

He saw the film; Jordan saw me as a filmmaker, someone broken out, like what he did with his amazing comedy show and became this filmmaker. He understood the strength of using genre to talk about more interesting motif things, societal issues, using it as a trojan horse.

Imagine the irony that Dev Patel said his career intervention was inspired by Jordan Peele when Peele himself seems to be inspired by the young filmmaker too. Their beginnings are very similar in that the Us director was first a comedy actor who starred with Keegan-Michael Key in one of the best sketch comedy shows, Key and Peele. Then he felt like directing was more fun for him with his debut being the Oscar-nominated film Get Out. With the number of times Peele has seen Monkey Man, and having gone out of his way to get it released in theaters, it looks like the former comedy actor was motivated by Patel too.

Patel was similarly in the same boat making his acting debut as part of the cast of the British comedy series Skins. Now he’s on the brink of being the lead in action movies and directing.

Dev Patel may be responsible for creating the critically-raved action film Monkey Man, but Jordan Peele is who we have to thank for having it released in theaters compared to streaming. It looks like the two collaborators have learned a lot from each other and are impressed with each other’s career paths. You can visit your local theater and see the 2024 movie release Monkey Man playing now.

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