Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) has reportedly agreed to a deal worth $450 million to create two sequels to the popular 2019 film, “Knives Out.”
What Happened: “Knives Out” was directed on a relatively modest $40 million and starred Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc, with an all-star supporting cast including Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Christopher Plummer and Toni Collette. The film grossed $311.4 million and earned an Academy Award nomination for its screenplay.
“Knives Out” was produced by MRC Entertainment and distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: LGF). According to a report in the entertainment trade journal Variety, the companies only had rights to a first film and not to any proposed sequels. Director-producer Rian Johnson and co-producer Ram Bergman shopped the sequels and landed the deal with Netflix.
Why It Matters: In bringing “Knives Out” under its banner, Netflix seeks to challenge its streaming rivals, including Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE: DIS) Disney+ and the AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) subsidiary HBO Max with a franchise of its own. No premiere date has been set for the sequels, and it is not certain if Netflix will release the new films theatrically first or in conjunction with a streaming premiere.
The film will also open a new chapter for Craig, who is concluding his run as James Bond in “No Time to Die,” which was originally planned for a November 2019 release, but was rescheduled for last spring before being postponed again due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “No Time to Die” is scheduled for a U.S. premiere on Oct. 8.
The new deal with Netflix gives Johnson significant creative control, with no budget limitations and the only cast requirement being Craig. Shooting on the first sequel is set to begin this summer in Greece.
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(Daniel Craig in “Knives Out.” Photo courtesy Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.)
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