Amblin Partners, the production company founded and chaired by director and producer Steven Spielberg, has signed a multiyear deal with streaming platform Netflix.
In a press release on Netflix’s website, the two companies announced that the partnership will result in “multiple new feature films per year.”
Some might see it as an unexpected turn from Spielberg’s company, given the director’s past stances on streaming movies. Two years ago, an Amblin spokesperson publicly announced that Spielberg intended to support changes to the Academy Awards that would reclassify Netflix films as TV movies, ineligible for Oscars like Best Picture.
The push was planned during a time when Netflix-distributed film Roma was poised to sweep the awards shows. But in the end, the Academy rejected the calls from Spielberg and others to restrict eligibility.
As is often the case, today’s press release was accompanied by prewritten statements by various executives involved, including Spielberg himself. The quote attributed to him says:
At Amblin, storytelling will forever be at the center of everything we do, and from the minute [Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer] and I started discussing a partnership, it was abundantly clear that we had an amazing opportunity to tell new stories together and reach audiences in new ways. This new avenue for our films, alongside the stories we continue to tell with our longtime family at Universal and our other partners, will be incredibly fulfilling for me personally since we get to embark on it together with Ted, and I can’t wait to get started with him, [Scott Stuber, Netflix Head of Global Film], and the entire Netflix team.
Amblin is not new to streaming. The company has already produced films that have played prominently or exclusively on streaming platforms, perhaps most notably the Netflix original The Trial of the Chicago 7 released last fall. Amblin has also produced a post-apocalyptic drama called Finch that is scheduled to air on Apple TV+ later this year.
Today’s announcement could be a win for Netflix, which now faces numerous viable competitors (such as HBO Max or Disney+) in a streaming TV/film space that it has previously dominated.
But if you’re a fan of Spielberg’s films, don’t get too excited just yet: Amblin produces films made by directors other than Spielberg, so this deal is no guarantee that we’ll be seeing the next Spielberg movie on Netflix.