Netflix said on Monday that Steven Spielberg, Hollywood’s best director would create numerous new films for the streaming service each year. It is in a huge agreement that demonstrates how thoroughly Hollywood has embraced streaming platforms.
The collaboration with arguably Hollywood’s best director is a win for Netflix. It is at a time when streaming rivals such as Disney+ and HBO Max are gaining momentum. It also comes after reports that Spielberg had been wary about streaming in recent years. He had even tried to exclude Netflix films from Oscar eligibility. These claims that the renowned filmmaker of Jaws and Schindler’s List have subsequently refuted.
Steven Spielberg lauded “this new avenue for our films” as an “amazing opportunity to tell new stories together and reach audiences in new ways” in a joint statement announcing the Netflix arrangement.
Spielberg also lauded his solid relationship with Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s co-CEO and content chief. He is a former industry outsider who has grown to become one of Hollywood’s most powerful figures.
“We cannot wait to get to work with the Amblin team. We are honored and thrilled to be part of this chapter of Steven’s cinematic history,” said Sarandos.
Steven Spielberg and his other partners
Spielberg’s Amblin Partners will continue to produce content for Universal, one of Hollywood’s oldest major companies. Disney-owned 20 Century Studios will distribute his next West Side Story.
The statement on Monday did not say if Spielberg, who has produced many more films than he has directed in recent years, will direct any of the Netflix projects.
However, the agreement comes as the industry shifts away from a paradigm that requires long, exclusive “windows” for movie theatre premieres to one in which prominent films are frequently out on streaming services simultaneously or very shortly after they enter theatres — or even skip theatres entirely.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hastened this process. The Trial of the Chicago 7, another Spielberg project, will be up for release for theatrical distribution by Paramount. But it wounded up on Netflix last year as hundreds of movie theatres were not available.
The arrangement announced on Monday did not specify whether Spielberg’s Netflix films will be out first on the big screen.
Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods), and David Fincher are among the other notable directors who have lately partnered with Netflix.
In addition to West Side Story will be releasing in December after being delayed due to the epidemic. Spielberg, 74, is working on a semi-autobiographical film about his childhood in Arizona.