Netflix acquires the Roald Dahl Story Company (RDSC) and rights to the entire catalog of the author, including classics Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Matilda and James and the Giant Peach, the company announced. The terms of the deal have not been announced (and are subject to regulatory approval), but three years ago Netflix paid “nine figures” for the rights to 16 of Dahl’s works, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In any case, it probably represents one of the biggest acquisitions of Netflix to date.
The news of the acquisition started bubbling up yesterday after a Bloomberg report. Netflix has big plans for Dahl’s work, including ‘creating a unique universe of animated and live action movies and TV, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theater, consumer products and more’, writes co-executive Ted Sarandos head of Netflix and RDSC managing director (and Dahl’s grandson) Luke Kelly.
Excited to announce that the Roald Dahl Story Company (RDSC) and Netflix are joining forces to bring some of the world’s most popular stories to current and future fans in current creative new ways.
“We are now going to visit the most amazing places and see the most amazing things.” pic.twitter.com/NIiBeStJm2
– Netflix (@netflix) 22 September 2021
The companies have revealed that director Taika Waititi and screenwriter Phil Johnston are working on a series based on the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory world. Netflix is also working with Sony and Working Title on adapting Matilda The Musical.
The acquisition appears to go far beyond Netflix’s previous content agreements, in which it merely licensed content from other people. It made it famous with Marvel, and eventually canceled it Daredevil and other Marvel shows when it could not match Disney, which at the time was planning to launch a rival Disney + service.
With Roald Dahl’s catalog, it promises to ‘bring these timeless stories to more audiences in new formats … [while] to retain their unique spirit and their universal themes of surprise and kindness, “Sarandos and Dahl wrote.” These stories and their messages about the power and potential of young people have never been more relevant. “Last year, the company apologized for Dahl’s history of anti-Semitic statements, as Bloomberg noticed.
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