After months of bad news for Netflix (WarnerMedia announcing its mammoth HBO Max, Disney investing so much in Disney+, losing Friends and The Office) the streaming giant is fighting back with its strongest weapon: money. Lots and lots of money.
Netflix has signed an overall deal with David Benioff and Dan Weiss, creators of the ultra-successful Game of Thrones. The deal, which is rumored to clock in around $200 million, will make Netflix the new official home for the creators. They’ll be leaving HBO behind and will release movies and series exclusively on Netflix. This is a big win for Netflix, who had been taking gut punch after gut punch recently. Their deal with Benioff and Weiss proves that they can also pack a punch and aren’t down-and-out yet.
Benioff and Weiss still have loyalty to Disney though, since they’re making a brand new Star Wars trilogy for the Mouse House. That’ll keep their hands full for awhile but you can rest assured that any projects beyond Star Wars will only air on Netflix.
While this is good news for Netflix, one wonders if it’ll have its downsides too. Though Game of Thrones was critically acclaimed (even its controversial final season racked in dozens of Emmy nominations) they haven’t proven themselves beyond that series. Their next television and movie projects might be as good as GoT but there’s a chance they’ll pale in comparison and prove to be disappointing. And many fans of Game of Thrones were so let down by the show’s final season that they might not follow Benioff and Weiss to Netflix. So Netflix is landing these two at an interesting time when some people still love them but some people really, truly despise them.
The deal also makes you wonder just when they’ll get to work for Netflix. Creating a brand new Star Wars trilogy is no small task, it’s going to take some time. That means they won’t have the energy or availability to work on Netflix projects for awhile. So Netflix just spent $200 million on a couple of guys who won’t be able to deliver anything until AFTER they deliver a sure-fire hit to one of their biggest competitors. While it’s still a smart investment for Netflix, it’s definitely a bit uncomfortable.
This does lighten HBO’s load in one way: they no longer have to deal with Benioff and Weiss’s Confederate, the controversial proposed series from the creators. Confederate was aimed to be a modern-day drama that took place in an America where the South won the Civil War. People weren’t too keen on that idea since it was announced but the project is officially dead now. Phew.