Why Netflix’s ‘Resident Evil’ Series Was Canceled

Resident Evil

After the first season of Andrew Dabb’s Resident Evil series failed to win over fans of the video game franchise, Netflix decided to cancel the show.

The goal of the show was to stay closer to the spirit of Capcom’s horror franchise than Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil films starring Mila Jonavich, which were commercially successful but diverged significantly from the original material.

Dabb’s eight-part series centers on a scientist named Jade Wesker who, in the post-apocalyptic year 2036, is trying to find a cure for the deadly T-virus, while also showing flashbacks to 2022, when Jade and her twin sister learn that their father, game franchise villain Albert Wesker, is working on a sinister drug in New Raccoon City.

On July 14, about the same time that “The Gray Man” was released, Resident Evil was quietly released on the streamer. 

Netflix actively marketed the premiere of the $200 million action comedy starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, yet the only place the show was advertised was on the website of the made-up Umbrella Company, which had two trailers.

The first four days of Dabb’s series saw 72.7 million hours of viewing time, putting it at No. 2 on Netflix’s charts. 

However, the following week, the first half of the fourth season of the sci-fi smash hit Stranger Things was released, and Dabb’s series dropped out of the Top 10 charts.

The show’s potential to attract viewers was hindered by its poor critical reaction and mediocre word of mouth. 

The critical consensus was negative (55% on Rotten Tomatoes), and the general public was much harsher (27% fresh).

Reddick’s performance as Albert Wexler, a naïve parent and a guy with a dark secret, earned the show praise, but the show ultimately failed because it was perceived as an adolescent drama that was “too woke.” 

The majority of the series focused on little Jade and her sister Sienna, who were widely panned.

The lack of nostalgia among viewers was also a problem. There was a recent relaunch of the video game series in 2017 with “Resident Evil: Biohazard,” and a sequel was released in 2018 with “Resident Evil: Village,” but neither of these games are referenced or even addressed in the new Netflix series.

As disappointing as it was, the box office performance of Johannes Roberts’ “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” did nothing to increase the show’s chances of being a hit with streaming viewers. 

The remake premiered in the midst of the Omicron pandemic in November 2021, and despite being the number one digital rental for three weeks, it earned less than $42 million.

Capcom’s Resident Evil was supposed to be their response to CD Projekt’s The Witcher adaption, which became the year’s most-watched TV show on any streaming service and boosted sales of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt by 544% in December.

Dabb was so sure that the show would get a second season that he was already creating it when the first season broadcast. 

However, Netflix canceled the series on August 26 due to low numbers, despite the fact that the first season ended on a cliffhanger. No other streaming services have come to the rescue as of this posting.

After the cancellation of Dabb’s series and the poor performance of “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” in theaters, no new adaptations are in development. 

But filmmaker Brandon Salisbury is also working on a documentary about George A. Romero called Resident Evil.

The film Romero worked on while having his assistant at the time, Jason Bareford, play through the entire Resident Evil video game while he watched and drafted the script will be the subject of the documentary. 

The game’s film movie rights were originally owned by Constantin Film, which ultimately decided to sideline Romero.

Salisbury claimed that he and the documentary’s producers, Capcom and Constantin Film, received permission to film some of the sequences planned by Romero in an abandoned mansion decorated to look like the iconic one from the original game. The anticipated launch date for the project is 2024.

Cloud versions of Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3, and Resident Evil 7 Biohazard are currently being developed by Capcom for the Nintendo Switch and are expected to launch in 2022. A “Winters’ Expansion” for Resident Evil: Village Cloud will be available for download on December 2. The official release date for Resident Evil: Village Cloud is October 28.

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