Netflix will be making a Bright sequel and Will Smith is set to return

New York - Despite scathing reviews from critics, Netflix has greenlit a sequel to Bright, with star Will Smith and director David Ayer expected to return.

The streaming service announced the plans on Wednesday, just two weeks after the fantasy police drama debuted. Bright is Netflix's first big-budget, tentpole-style release, with estimates that it cost at least $90m to produce.

With a sequel, Netflix hopes to turn Bright into its first film franchise — the kind Hollywood studios rely on. But it will be doing so with one of the worst reviewed films of the year. Bright has garnered just a 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Yet viewer data suggests Bright is a hit — or, at least, a Netflix version of one. Nielsen reported that 11 million watched Bright in the United States in the first three days release. If that many moviegoers had paid tickets for Bright, it would have earned close to $100m over its first weekend, if going by the average movie ticket price. And Nielsen's tabulation is based on TV-connected Netflix viewing, and doesn't include those watching on their phones or computers.

Netflix doesn't release viewing numbers, but it said Bright has been its most viewed movie in all of Netflix's 190-plus countries. It called Bright its highest viewed original film ever in its first week of release.

The film stars Smith as a police officer in an alternate version of Los Angeles where orcs, fairies and magic co-exist. Netflix announced the sequel with a mock audition tape from various orcs hoping to land a role in the follow-up.

Co-star Joel Edgerton is also set to return. One person not coming back is screenwriter Max Landis, whose original script sparked a bidding war. Ayer (Suicide Squad, Fury) will write the sequel.

ALSO CHECK OUT: Channel24 reviews Bright