Steven Spielberg’s production company, Amblin Partners, has signed a partnership deal with Netflix, Variety is reporting. The deal will allow the Academy Award-winning filmmaker to produce at least two movies a year for the streaming service, for an unspecified number of years.
Netflix is expected to provide financing for some of its upcoming productions with Amblin, which the West Side Story director will also reportedly have the opportunity to helm. The streaming service’s co-CEO, Ted Sarandos, and head of original films, Scott Stuber, who previously worked closely with Spielberg when he was an executive at Universal Pictures, played key roles in securing the deal.
Amblin hopes to increase the number of movies it releases through its new deal with Netflix, which doesn’t include any restrictions on the productions’ budgets and genres. However, there’s no official word yet on which films the production company and streaming service will work on together.
“At Amblin, storytelling will forever be at the center of everything we do. From the minute Ted 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,” Spielberg said in a statement.
“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. I can’t wait to get started with him, Scott and the entire Netflix team,” the Emmy Award-winning writer-director-producer added.
Amblin and Netflix are currently collaborating on several films together, including Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein feature, Maestro, which is in development. The two companies previously worked together on the Oscar-nominated historical legal drama, The Trial of the Chicago 7, which Amblin helped produce. The movie was originally scheduled to be released in theaters by Paramount before the distributor sold it to Netflix last summer.
Spielberg is one of the last remaining powerful Hollywood filmmakers to secure a distribution deal with a streaming service. He had long been fighting to preserve the primacy of the theatrical experience as the digital streaming distribution model has become more prevalent in recent years.
But under Sarandos and Stuber’s direction, Netflix has made a point of attracting major auteur filmmakers. Such acclaimed directors as Martin Scorsese and David Fincher forgoed the traditional studio model in recent years when they distributed their acclaimed dramas, The Irishman and Mank, on Netflix and in a limited theatrical release.
The news of Amblin’s deal with Netflix comes after the production company renewed its long-standing theatrical deal with Universal this past December, after released such Oscar-winning movies as Green Book and 1917. Amblin will continue to maintain offices on the Universal lot under the deal, while also working with Netflix.