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Steven Spielberg inks major deal with Netflix

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Yahoo Finance’s Alexandra Canal to break down Spielberg’s deal with Netflix as the streaming wars continue.

Video Transcript

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Steven Spielberg, obviously a huge name in the film world, making his way over to Netflix. So Amblin Partners, which is his production company, officially signed a multi-year partnership with Netflix, which will supply multiple movies per year to the streaming platform. Now the financial terms of this deal have not yet been disclosed, but insiders at both Deadline and the Hollywood Reporter said that the deal has no restrictions regarding budget or genre.

Now, Netflix shares, they're trading a bit in the red today, down around one percentage point. So it doesn't seem like investors are reacting too heavily on this news. But it's still a pretty surprising deal. Because remember, Spielberg and Amblin Partners also have a separate theatrical deal with Universal Pictures. Now that deal was just renewed in December. Spielberg will continue to direct films for that studio as well. So it seems like things are getting a little muddled in the media world.

But, you know, I am not totally surprised that both Netflix and Universal want to continue working with Spielberg and Amblin. Obviously, he's a huge name in this space. But Amblin has some pretty recognizable films. We have big blockbusters like "Green Book," which did go on to win Best Picture. Also, "1917," "The Trial of the Chicago Seven," which did land on Netflix amid COVID-19. So these studios do have some experience working together, but still pretty interesting and surprising nonetheless. I don't think a lot of media experts anticipated this today.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: So how do you think this represents a shift in the media world, the fact that Spielberg has come to this deal with Netflix?

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Well, Spielberg is one of many directors that have been very hesitant to embrace the streaming world. Back in 2019, he did make some comments about streamers like Netflix being able to be eligible for Oscars. If you remember, Netflix sort of made a big splash in the beginning with "Roma." But he seems to have changed his tune here. Even though he said later that he didn't totally mean that, he was just defending the theatrical experience, right now, you can't deny how much things have changed over the past two years.

Now I think this comes down also to just the power of Ted Sarandos. He is the co-CEO of Netflix, also the chief content officer. He's done a really great job trying to bring those big names to the platform, not just on the director side, but on the actor side as well. Netflix spent $450 million to secure the next two "Knives Out" sequels starring Daniel Craig. They also have a movie coming out later this year with Leonardo DiCaprio.

So, you know, I don't think that they're in a bad spot. They are always willing to spend the money and put the money where their mouth is when it comes to securing those high profile names and those high profile actors and actresses to hopefully draw people to the platform and subscribe to the channel. But I think this is more so extends beyond Netflix. And it's really an industry-wide situation.

I think a lot of these studios-- and I've spoken to some creatives in this space-- they've said that studios are really risk averse these days. They only want to invest money in those big budget franchise superhero films. Because of that, creatives have been a little frustrated. These streaming platforms allow a bit more flexibility. So I think this is something that studios are going to have to debate moving forward and try and change their strategy here. But this is certainly just another example of how things are not changing anytime soon and how streaming, if anything, is becoming more a part of the landscape of Hollywood.

KRISTIN MYERS: All right, thanks so much, Alexandra Canal, for bringing us all of those details. I'm looking forward to seeing some of those movies that come out of that partnership.