“Steven Spielberg came in, and said, ‘I have a super scary story I want to do,’” said Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who earlier established DreamWorks Pictures with Spielberg.
“He’s writing it himself. He hasn’t [written anything in a while] so getting him to write something is fantastic.”
Spielberg last penned his own A.I. Artificial Intelligence. The visionary filmmaker earlier scripted 1982 Tobe Hooper-directed horror hit Poltergeist, where writer-producer Spielberg acted as a major creative force.
Now being developed under the title Spielberg’s After Dark, Spielberg has already “written five or six episodes of a 10-or 12-chapter story,” Katzenberg said.
Quibi, specifically designed for entertainment consumers on the go, calls its episodes — which are just seven to 10 minutes in length — “chapters,” and per Spielberg’s request, After Dark will only be viewable when a countdown clock on a user’s phone indicates it’s nighttime in their area. The show will disappear during daylight hours.
“What Quibi is doing, it’s not really short form,” Katzenberg said of the service, named for “quick bites,” planning to launch in April 2020 after raising $1 billion from investors. Quibi hopes to usher in a “third generation of film narrative.”
“We’re putting those sciences together,” Katzenberg said. “Chapters or act breaks that are 7 to 10 minutes long. They are specifically shot to be watched on the go. If you’re 25-35 years old, you get up and you’re on [a smartphone] for over five hours.”
Katzenberg promises Quibi will boast 125 pieces of content a week and 7,000 pieces of entertainment in its first year. Among them will be eight “super premium” titles, referred to Katzenberg as “movies,” ready for viewing at launch.
26 “lighthouse” productions, aka signature titles, will roll out every other Monday in its first year. These are envisioned as flagships comparable to Netflix’s House of Cards or Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Talent already drafted to Quibi include Sam Raimi (Spider-Man), Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect), Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer), Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), and Laurence Fishburne (Ant-Man and the Wasp).