Netflix signs deal to show Sony Pictures movies, including new Spider-Man, Venom, Jumanji and Bad Boys releases
- Sony, the only big entertainment company without its own streaming service, recently sold Seth Rogen’s American Pickle to HBO Max and The Greyhound to Apple TV+
- Now Netflix has first refusal on Sony films that bypass cinemas, and will stream releases such as the upcoming Morbius, Where the Crawdads Sing and Bullet Train
At a time when every other studio wants to be a Netflix competitor, Sony Pictures has decided to become one of its top suppliers, by signing a multi-year deal to release movies on Netflix after they hit cinemas and home video, the companies said.
The agreement replaces Sony’s previous pay-TV pact with premium cable network Starz, which is owned by Lionsgate. Starz had been the exclusive premium cable home for Sony movies for more than a decade.
In a key part of the new arrangement, Netflix will get right of first refusal to show Sony movies that bypass cinemas and go straight to streaming. Those films will be in addition to the 15 to 20 pictures Sony releases in cinemas annually. The deal represents a boost to Netflix’s burgeoning film business, which plans to release 70 original movies this year.
Financial terms were not revealed. In the past, traditional output deals generated hundreds of millions of dollars a year in revenue for film studios. Premium cable channels have long relied on a steady stream of blockbuster Hollywood movies to keep subscribers engaged.
“This exciting agreement further shows the importance of [Sony’s] content to our distribution partners,” said Keith Le Goy, president of worldwide distribution and networks at Sony Pictures Entertainment, in a statement.
The Netflix deal highlights Sony’s unusual position in Hollywood as the only major studio without an affiliated streaming service at a time when film studios are making more content for their own direct-to-consumer outlets.
Walt Disney is funnelling movies to Disney+, while AT&T-owned Warner Bros. is using its film output to grow sister streaming service HBO Max. Paramount Pictures owner ViacomCBS rebranded CBS All Access as Paramount+ last month.
Comcast’s NBCUniversal last year launched streaming service Peacock, though Universal Pictures movies still go to HBO for their pay-TV window that comes after their home video debut. That deal runs until 2022. The company’s Illumination Entertainment animated movies go to Netflix under a similar pact. Comcast has considered moving its movies to Peacock from HBO and Netflix to boost its streaming service, according to Bloomberg.
While other entertainment companies build in-house streaming businesses, Sony Pictures, owned by Tokyo-based electronics giant Sony, has taken the path of “arms dealer” in the streaming wars.
Sony’s Netflix deal builds on the streaming service’s pre-existing output deal with Sony Pictures Animation, the Sony label known for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs franchise. Sony also previously agreed to work with Netflix on a film adaptation of the stage play version of Matilda.