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Steven Spielberg signs major streaming deal with Netflix

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Steven Spielberg has signed a major deal with Netflix to produce multiple new films for the streaming giant every year. The company made this announcement on Monday, June 21, 2021. This major deal highlights how fully Hollywood has embraced streaming platforms.

Netflix’s partnership with the top director comes at a time when competition with its streaming rivals, including Disney+ and HBO Max, is heating up.

Earlier reports state that Spielberg has, in recent years, been skeptical about streaming. According to them, he had even moved to bar Netflix films from Oscars eligibility. However, these claims about the legendary “Jaws” and “Schindler’s List” director have since been dismissed as false.

In a joint statement about the Netflix deal, 74-year-old Steven Spielberg praised “this new avenue for our films” as an “amazing opportunity to tell new stories together and reach audiences in new ways. He also praised his close relationship with Netflix co-CEO and content chief Ted Sarandos, a former industry outsider who has risen to become one of Hollywood’s top power brokers.

Steven Spielberg Netflix
US director Steven Spielberg speaks onstage during the 92nd Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on February 9, 2020. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP)
Spielberg’s Amblin Partners will continue to make content for Universal, one of Tinseltown’s oldest major studios. Furthermore, Disney-owned 20 Century Studios will release his upcoming “West Side Story”.

This announcement does not specify whether Spielberg will personally direct any of the Netflix films. In recent years, he has produced many more films than he has directed.

But the deal comes as the industry pivots from a model that insisted on lengthy, exclusive “windows” for film theater releases, to one in which major films often appear on streaming platforms simultaneously or very soon after they hit the big screen — or even skip theaters altogether.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated that move. Paramount intended another production by Spielberg’s Amblin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” for theatrical release. However, it ended up on Netflix last year following the closure of thousands of film theaters.

Monday’s deal also did not say whether Spielberg’s films for Netflix would also appear on the big screen first.

Other top directors have recently joined forces with Netflix. They include Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”), Spike Lee (“Da 5 Bloods”) and David Fincher (“Mank”).

“West Side Story” is due in theaters in December after a major delay caused by the pandemic. In addition, Spielberg is currently developing a semi-autobiographical film about his childhood in the southwestern state of Arizona. 

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