Los Angeles (AFP)
Steven Spielberg will produce several new films for Netflix each year, the company said on Monday, as part of a major deal that highlights how Hollywood has embraced streaming platforms.
The partnership with arguably Tinseltown’s best director is a blow to Netflix at a time when competition with streaming rivals, including Disney + and HBO Max, is intensifying.
It also follows reports that Spielberg had been skeptical about streaming in recent years and even decided to ban Netflix films from being Oscar-eligible – claiming that the legendary director of “Jaws” and “Schindler’s List” has since dismissed as bogus.
In a joint statement on the deal with Netflix, Spielberg hailed “this new avenue for our films” as an “incredible opportunity to tell new stories together and reach audiences in new ways.”
Spielberg also praised his close relationship with Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos, a former industry underdog who has become one of Hollywood’s top power brokers.
“We look forward to working with the Amblin team and are honored and thrilled to be a part of this chapter in Steven’s cinematic history,” said Sarandos.
Spielberg’s Amblin Partners will continue to create content for Universal, one of Tinseltown’s oldest major studios, while its upcoming “West Side Story” will be released by 20 Century Studios, owned by Disney.
Monday’s announcement does not say whether Spielberg, who has produced far more films in recent years than he has directed, will personally direct any of the Netflix films.
But the deal comes as the industry shifts from a model that insisted on long exclusive ‘windows’ for theatrical releases, to a model in which big movies often appear on streaming platforms simultaneously or very much. shortly after they hit the big screen – or even skip theaters altogether.
This movement has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Another Spielberg Amblin production, “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” was slated for theatrical release by Paramount but ended up on Netflix last year when thousands of theaters were closed.
Monday’s deal also didn’t say whether Spielberg’s films for Netflix would also appear on the big screen first.
Other great directors who have recently partnered with Netflix include Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”), Spike Lee (“Da 5 Bloods”) and David Fincher (“Mank”).
In addition to “West Side Story” – which is set to hit theaters in December after being delayed by the pandemic – Spielberg, 74, is currently developing a semi-autobiographical film about his childhood in Southwestern state. Arizona.
© 2021 AFP