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Netflix partners with Sony on future movies
The deal is multilayered, exclusive and US-only... for now
It's no secret that Netflix's library is of much higher quality TV show-wise than movie-wise, as the Americans have had much more experience and success in the former type of entertainment than the latter. Sony, on the other hand, has plenty of experience on both of those forms but none of the experience needed to kickstart a top standalone streaming service like Disney Plus or HBO Max. A deal between the two companies, then, is kind of surprising - not even a hint of a rumor was published before the official announcement - but it also makes sense: Netflix and Sony have entered an exclusive, multi-year partnership, on multiple levels, starting from January 1, 2022.
The deal will see Netflix become the new, exclusive streaming destination for Sony movies after they’ve had their traditional runs in theaters and on home video (it used to be an 18-month window but given the new dynamics of the streaming market it could be much less this time around). As per The Hollywood Reporter the deal applies to the US for now, although there's nothing keeping the two companies from extending it to other markets in the future (once current Sony content deals in place there expire).
Some of Sony's notable upcoming films include Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2, Morbius, Uncharted and Bullet Train. The deal will not include movies such as Spider-Man: No Way Home and Venom: Let There Be Carnage - these are expected to arrive this year - but it does include future movies based on any Marvel characters and storylines Sony owns. This means that forthcoming Spider-man films produced by Sony, for instance, will not be making an appearance on Disney Plus but on Netflix instead, despite being connected to the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse.
Another important part of the deal has to do with movies Sony intends to release directly to streaming: Netflix will have a first-look privilege at these and is committed to producing several of them during the course of this partnership. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but both sides appear happy with this arrangement as it will indeed help them compete more effectively with the likes of Disney, Warner and Paramount who have their own content libraries and promote their own streaming services.
This deal, as it applies to the US market only (for now) and goes into effect on January 1st, does not interfere with Sony Bravia CORE, the Japanese giant's movie streaming service that has just launched worldwide. That service is targeted to new Sony TV owners at the moment - owners of 2021 TV models only to be precise - and offers unusually high audiovisual quality as a demonstration of Sony's Pure stream tech. Its library mainly consists of back catalog films rather than new theatrical releases, though, so it will be interesting to see how Sony plans to handle this new partnership with Netflix and Bravia CORE when it's finally time for new Sony Pictures movies to appear in both streaming services in e.g. 9-12 months from now. Bets, anyone?