Steven Spielberg's Amblin signs major streaming deal with Netflix
Steven Spielberg will produce several films a year for Netflix
The deal highlights how Hollywood has embraced streaming platforms
He will release West Side Story with Disney's 20th Century studios
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg has signed a new deal with Netflix, where his company will produce multiple new films for the streaming giant every year. The deal highlights how fully Hollywood has embraced streaming platforms. The partnership with Tinseltown’s top director is a coup for Netflix at a time when competition with streaming rivals including Disney+ and HBO Max is heating up.
According to the reports, Spielberg had been skeptical about streaming in recent years, and had even moved to bar Netflix films from Oscars eligibility -- claims that the legendary "Jaws" and "Schindler's List" director has since dismissed as false.
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In a joint statement about the Netflix deal, Spielberg praised "this new avenue for our films" as an "amazing opportunity to tell new stories together and reach audiences in new ways." Spielberg praised his close relationship with Netflix co-CEO and content chief Ted Sarandos.
Sarandos said, "We cannot wait to get to work with the Amblin team and we are honored and thrilled to be part of this chapter of Steven's cinematic history."
The deal announced on Monday doesn’t specifically include whether Spielberg will personally direct any of the Netflix movies. However, the deal comes as the industry pivots from a model that insisted on lengthy, exclusive "windows" for movie theater releases, to one in which major films often appear on streaming platforms simultaneously or very soon after they hit the big screen or even skip theaters altogether.
Spielberg’s production company, Amblin Partners has a separate deal with universal pictures for theatrical releases and will continue to make content for them. One of Tinseltown's oldest major studios, “West Side Story” will be released by Disney-owned 20 Century Studios. Another production by Spielberg's Amblin, "The Trial of the Chicago 7," was intended for theatrical release by Paramount but ended up on Netflix last year due to the pandemic.
Monday's deal also did not say whether Spielberg's films for Netflix would also appear on the big screen first.
Other top directors who have recently joined forces with Netflix include Martin Scorsese ("The Irishman"), Spike Lee ("Da 5 Bloods"), and David Fincher ("Mank"). As well as "West Side Story" -- which is due in theaters in December after being delayed by the pandemic -- Spielberg, 74, is currently developing a semi-autobiographical film about his childhood in the southwestern state of Arizona.