The families of the 12 boys trapped in a Thai cave last year in an 18-day ordeal that captured the world’s attention are set for a financial windfall after streaming giant Netflix announced a joint venture to recreate their story.
Netflix announced on Tuesday that it will team up with the production company for the blockbuster movie “Crazy Rich Asians” to tell the dramatic tale of how the boys and their football coach were rescued by divers from the flooded Tham Luang cavern in northern Thailand.
Thailand’s culture ministry first revealed plans to sign a Netflix deal in March, announcing it would be a miniseries and that the families of the young survivors would each be paid a sum of $94,000 (£72,000).
The 13 Thumluang company, set up by Thailand's government to guard the interests of the boys and their coach, and which awarded the rights to Netflix and SK Global Entertainment, has also committed to donating 15 per cent of the project’s revenues to charity organisations that focus on disaster relief.
The Wild Boars football team became trapped while exploring the vast cave complex last June when heavy rainfall flooded the exit.
A short film clip of the astonishing moment they were found sheltering on rocky shelf by two British divers went viral around the world and led to a daring underwater extraction mission carried out by an international team of cave divers and the Thai navy SEALs.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to thank the people and organisations from Thailand and around the world who came together to perform a true miracle, by retelling our story," said Ekapol Chanthawong, the boy's coach, in a press release.
"We look forward to working with all involved parties to ensure our story is told accurately, so that the world can recognise, once again, the heroes that made the rescue operation a success,” he added.
Jon M. Chu, the American filmmaker behind the global success of "Crazy Rich Asians” and Nattawut Poonpiriya, a Thai filmmaker, will be directors on the project.
Mr Chu tweeted last year that he would not allow Hollywood to “#whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story! No way. Not on our watch. That won’t happen or we’ll give them hell.”
An independent film called "The Cave,” has already been shot by Irish-Thai director Tom Waller and is expected to be released later this year.