A new agreement has been struck between Netflix and Sony Pictures in which the streamer has gained first access to the studio's upcoming theatrical releases, which is slated to kick off with its 2022 films. Previously, Starz has been the home of those highly anticipated titles, with Netflix now being the first home for future installments in series like the Spider-Man, Venom, and Jumanji franchises. The deal gives Netflix an 18-month exclusive window for these titles, with the release of Morbius in January of 2022 marking the first major release from the studio that is expected to debut on Netflix.
"Sony Pictures is a great partner and we are thrilled to expand our relationship through this forward-thinking agreement," Netflix global film head Scott Stuber shared in a statement, per Variety. "This not only allows us to bring their impressive slate of beloved film franchises and new IP to Netflix in the U.S., but it also establishes a new source of first-run films for Netflix movie lovers worldwide."
In addition to Morbius, this means that Netflix subscribers can plan on seeing 2022 films like Uncharted, Where the Crawdads Sing, and Bullet Train after they exit theaters.
The deal also means that Netflix has a first-look agreement for any films that Sony is developing direct-to-streaming, and that the deal "requires Netflix to commit to a certain number of titles from the studio, but it doesn't stop Sony from selling direct-to-streaming titles to Netflix's rivals. And Netflix will license an unspecified number of older titles from Sony's movie vault."
"Netflix has been a terrific partner as we continue to expand our relationship," Keith Le Goy, SPE's president of worldwide distribution and networks expressed. "At Sony Pictures, we produce some of the biggest blockbusters and the most creative, original films in the industry. This exciting agreement further demonstrates the importance of that content to our distribution partners as they grow their audiences and deliver the very best in entertainment."
Due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic, the distribution plans for movies in recent months have seen some unexpected developments. One of the most unexpected reveals was the Warner Bros.' entire slate of 2021 movies would debut in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day, while Paramount Pictures confirmed that a majority of its titles would land on Paramount+ 45 days after their theatrical releases.
With vaccinations being distributed around the world, it's unknown if any other Sony films will be delayed from their current releases, with Morbius originally having been slated to hit theaters later year.
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