By Natalie Decoste
The battle between legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Netflix has ended as Spielberg embarks on a new partnership with the streaming giant.
Steven Spielberg’s production company, Amblin Partners, which is led by the legendary director and produces film and TV, announced a partnership with the streaming company on Monday that will include multiple new feature films per year for the service.
“At Amblin, storytelling will forever be at the center of everything we do, and from the minute Ted and I started discussing a partnership, it was abundantly clear that we had an amazing opportunity to tell new stories together and reach audiences in new ways,” said Spielberg in the announcement. “This new avenue for our films, alongside the stories we continue to tell with our longtime family at Universal and our other partners, will be incredibly fulfilling for me personally since we get to embark on it together with Ted, and I can’t wait to get started with him, Scott, and the entire Netflix team.”
A notable takeaway from the deal is that it does not impact Spielberg’s long-term relationship with Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, where Amblin Partners is based.
Spielberg is a world-class director with major hits such as “E.T.” and “Jaws.” Amblin has an impressive track record itself, with Oscar Best Picture Winners “Green Book” and “1917”, which grossed more than $385 million at the worldwide box office.
“Steven is a creative visionary and leader and, like so many others around the world, my growing up was shaped by his memorable characters and stories that have been enduring, inspiring and awakening. 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,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Co-CEO, and Chief Content Officer.
The move is a significant step for Netflix in its quest to maintain its hold as the leading streaming service in the world over services like Disney Plus and HBO Max. Amazon is also making moves on Netflix’s turf by acquiring the MGM movie and TV studio in a deal valued at $8.45 billion, including debt.
The deal is a significant change from reports back in 2019 that Spielberg wanted to draw a line between theatrically released films and streamer films. It was reported that Spielberg planned to propose Oscar rule changes that would block films that are primarily distributed online from competing at the Oscars.
The story drew so much attention that the U.S. Justice Department sent a letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that a potential rule change limiting Netflix’s eligibility could raise antitrust concerns and violate competition law.
Concerns raised by the DOJ now appear to be a thing of the past as this new partnership helps to solidify the changing dynamics of Hollywood and the prominence of streaming networks.
“Amblin and Steven Spielberg are synonymous with incredible entertainment. Their passion and artistry combine to make films that both captivate and challenge audiences. We look forward to working with Steven, Jeff and the entire Amblin family on a new slate of films that will delight generations for years to come,” said Scott Stuber, Netflix Head of Global Film.