Steven Spielberg's production company Amblin Partners has reached a multi-year deal to supply movies to Netflix Inc, the company said in a statement on Monday (Jun 21).
Amblin, a global film and TV studio which takes its name from a 1968 short by Spielberg, will provide multiple movies per year to Netflix, the statement said.
Spielberg, the Oscar-winning director of Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, will continue to direct movies for Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures as part of a separate deal.
The deal doesn't specifically include any movies to be directed by Spielberg. This December, he will release West Side Story theatrically with Disney’s 20th Century Studios. Amblin has a separate deal with Universal Pictures for theatrical releases.
Spielberg has sometimes been seen as against a streaming future for movies. A Deadline Hollywood headline on Monday's announcement wondered: “Hell Freezes Over?”
But Spielberg in 2019 argued against the anti-streaming impression associated with him. Reports around then circulated that Spielberg believed streaming releases – which he compared to made-for-TV movies – should vie for Emmys, not Oscars. “I’m a firm believer that movie theatres need to be around forever," Spielberg said that year.
He clarified that big screen or small screen, “what really matters to me is a great story and everyone should have access to great stories”.
“However, I feel people need to have the opportunity to leave the safe and familiar of their lives and go to a place where they can sit in the company of others and have a shared experience – cry together, laugh together, be afraid together– so that when it’s over they might feel a little less like strangers," Spielberg wrote in an email to the New York Times. "I want to see the survival of movie theatres. I want the theatrical experience to remain relevant in our culture.”
The lines have also blurred since then. While Netflix has given exclusive theatrical runs of a week or more to some of its most prominent releases, traditional studios like Disney and Warner Bros. have embraced more hybrid release models that send movies simultaneously to streaming services.
This isn't the first time Amblin and Netflix have worked together. They are currently collaborating on Maestro, and previously, Amblin produced The Trial Of The Chicago 7, which was sold to Netflix.
Financial terms of Amblin's deal with Netflix were not disclosed.