Netflix and Steven Spielberg have just signed a deal that will see the acclaimed filmmaker's production company produce multiple new films for the streaming giant each year.
The partnership between Spielberg's Amblin Partners and Netflix was announced on Monday. It is a coup for Netflix at a time when competition with streaming rivals including Disney+ and HBO Max is heating up.
It is not clear how much Spielberg's deal with Netflix is worth.
Netflix has scooped up one of the biggest proponents of the theatrical movie business: Steven Spielberg.— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 21, 2021
Spielberg's Amblin Partners has signed a multiyear deal to make multiple feature films annually for the streaming giant. https://t.co/JCSPeWdFtU
Spielberg, 74, has been skeptical about streaming in recent years and reportedly moved to bar Netflix films from Oscars eligibility. Spielberg later dismissed that claim as false.
In a joint statement about the new 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 also praised his close relationship with Netflix co-CEO and content chief Ted Sarandos, a former industry outsider who has risen to become one of Hollywood's top power brokers.
'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,' Sarandos said.
The Academy Award-winning director of big-screen classics such as 'E.T.', 'Schindler's List', 'Jaws', and 'Saving Private Ryan' will continue to direct and produce movies for Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures under a separate agreement.
Amblin Partners, the film and TV production studio led by Steven Spielberg, has announced a partnership with Netflix that will include multiple new feature films per year for the service, according to the two companies https://t.co/ThqSRMDYFx— CNN International (@cnni) June 21, 2021
Spielberg's upcoming 'West Side Story' will be released by Disney-owned 20 Century Studios.
The announcement does not specify whether Spielberg, who in recent years has produced many more films than he has directed, will personally direct any of the Netflix movies.
Amblin produces several movies beyond the ones that Spielberg directs himself.
Recent Amblin projects included 2018 best picture winner 'Green Book' and 2019 World War One drama '1917,' both distributed by Universal.
The deal, however, 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.
That move has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 while thousands of movie theaters were closed.
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 is currently developing a semi-autobiographical film about his childhood in the southwestern state of Arizona.
Netflix is slated to make 60 films in 2021.
Netflix was one of the big winners of the pandemic after seeing a surge in subscribers as people the world over were confined to their homes.
Shares and subscribers have dropped off this year as lockdowns were lifted and the streaming wars continue to heat up.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.