Kate Beckinsale’s Breakout Action Blockbuster Is Coming To Netflix Soon

Kate Beckinsale's breakout hit Underworld arrives on Netflix February 1st.

By Sean Thiessen | Published

kate beckinsale
Kate Beckinsale as Selene in the Underworld franchise

In 2003, beautiful people in tight leather costumes soared across screens in sequences of hyper-stylized action on a regular basis. Per What’s On Netflix, one of the staples of the era is headed to Netflix. Underworld, the film that launched a war between vampires and werewolves (and the career of Kate Beckinsale) will be available on Netflix in the U.S. on February 1, 2023.

Underworld tells the story of the vampire assassin Selene, played by Kate Beckinsale, who hunts Lycans, better known as werewolves. Things get sticky when Selene discovers that a powerful Lycan thought to be dead by the vampire clan is still in business. As Selene uncovers a centuries old conspiracy, she falls for a human man who has been bitten by a Lycan, forcing her to choose between duty and love.

The gothic action film was panned by critics, but audiences ate it up. On a budget of $25 million, the film shocked with a $95 million gross. Audiences poured into theaters to see Kate Beckinsale blowing lycans away in a fresh take on vampire and werewolf lore, though to some, the film was not as fresh as it may have seemed.

Underworld undoubtedly took notes from films like Blade and The Matrix, but others felt the Kate Beckinsale hit outright stole its material. A copyright lawsuit was filed on the basis that Underworld bore too many similarities to entries of the role-playing game series World of Darkness and to author Nancy A. Collins’ Sonja Blue novels. The dispute was settled out of court.

Underworld was originally conceived by Kevin Grevioux, a microbiology major who turned his sights to film and TV. Grevioux claimed Romeo and Juliet as his inspiration for the film’s story, and he used his scientific background to conceive versions of vampirism and lycanthropy rooted in principles of virology. Grevioux was then joined by Len Wiseman and Danny McBride, the latter of whom penned the screenplay; McBride returned with Kate Beckinsale for the next two Underworld installments.

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Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman in Underworld

Underworld continued to make money against relatively modest budgets across its five film run. While the series has never fared well with critics, it has a loyal fan following. The franchise was set to continue with a sixth film, but in 2018, Kate Beckinsale stated that she had no interest in returning to the role of Selene.

The franchise’s final installment, Underworld: Blood Wars, released in 2016 to the worst response from fans the series had yet seen. The poor response to Blood Wars may have put the final nail in the coffin for the series, but Kate Beckinsale later rescinded her comment, saying she would be open to returning to the role.

Kate Beckinsale became a sensation thanks to Underworld. The actress had already found roles in films like Serendipity and Pearl Harbor, but her turn as a vampire assassin propelled her into hits like Van Helsing (2004), Martin Scorcese’s The Aviator, and the Adam Sandler comedy Click. Between posting pictures of her cat Clive on Instagram, Beckinsale will make her next appearance in El Tonto, the directorial debut from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia actor Charlie Day.

20 years after the release of Underworld, the film is headed to Netflix. The streamer has a way of bringing old movies back from the dead. The film’s new place on Netflix may prove the Kate Beckinsale franchise to be immortal after all.