Netflix and Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) have struck a multi-year, exclusive pay 1 US licensing deal for theatrically released SPE features starting with the 2022 slate.
The pact, which ends a couple of years of speculation over where the slate would end up, will replace the pay 1 deal with Starz although the studio remains the only US major not to have its own streaming platform.
Additionally, Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group will offer Netflix a first-look on any films it intends to make available directly on streaming or later decides to license for streaming, and Netflix has committed to make a number of those films over the course of the deal.
Earlier this year Sony sold animation The Mitchells vs. The Machines and licensed Kevin Hart drama Fatherhood to Netflix in two unrelated deals. Hollywood studios have struck many arrangements like this in the past year as the pandemic has wreaked havoc on theatrical distribution plans.
The pay 1 deal builds on Netflix’s output arrangement with Sony Pictures Animation films to encompass all SPE labels and genres, and kicks in after the theatrical and home entertainment windows.
2022 titles include Morbius (pictured), Uncharted, Where the Crawdads Sing, and Bullet Train. The deal will be flexible and work with whatever theatrical window Sony ultimately decides upon. The industry norm appears to have settled for now on a cap of 45 days, a much-reduced timeframe due to the pandemic.
The partners anticipate studio titles will include latest entries in the IP catalogue such as the sequel to Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, and SPE films featuring Marvel characters including future instalments of Venom and Spider-Man films, as well as expected follow-ups in the Jumanji and Bad Boys franchises.
Netflix will also license rights to select titles from SPE’s film library.
The parties said direct-to-streaming features will be “additive” to SPE’s full theatrical film slate, which will continue at its current volume. That sentiment tallies with Sony’s reputation as a vocal advocate of theatrical distribution.