Steven Spielberg is already one of Hollywood’s most prolific stars, now he is set to bolster his creative output by signing up with Netflix to produce multiple projects each year.
The news comes after rumours that Spielberg had campaigned to have Netflix movies barred from the Oscars, claims which he now denies as false and has, in fact, praised the potential of streaming sites.
In a joint statement with Netflix, Spielberg announced that he was excited to explore “this new avenue for our films” and praise streaming as an “amazing opportunity to tell new stories together and reach audiences in new ways.”
Previous he had seemingly condemned streaming having told The New York Times in 2019, “I want to see the survival of movie theatres. I want the theatrical experience to remain relevant in our culture.”
Adding, “I feel people need to have the opportunity to leave the safe and familiar of their lives and go to a place where they can sit in the company of others and have a shared experience — cry together, laugh together, be afraid together — so that when it’s over they might feel a little less like strangers.”
While streaming and cinema are not necessarily mutually exclusive, comments like these seemed to hint that any sort of deal would be unlikely, which is why Netflix striking a deal with his Amblin production company comes as somewhat of a surprise.
The statement released late on Monday went on to say: “At Amblin, storytelling will forever be at the centre of everything we do, and from the minute Ted [Sarandos, Netlfix CEO] 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.”
Sarandos responded by stating: “Steven is a creative visionary and leader and, like so many others around the world, my growing up was shaped by his memorable characters and stories that have been enduring, inspiring and awakening. We cannot wait to get to work with the Amblin team and we are honoured and thrilled to be part of this chapter of Steven’s cinematic history.”
More details on the deal are expected to emerge in the coming weeks. Currently it is unclear whether it will effect the release of West Side Story and other Spielberg releases with more details to follow.