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Steven Spielberg’s production company signs a deal with Netflix

By Frank Pallotta, CNN Business

Steven Spielberg is partnering with Netflix. Getting Hollywood’s premiere director represents a major coup for the streaming service.

Amblin Partners, the film and TV production studio led by the blockbuster director, announced a partnership with the streaming company Monday that will include multiple new feature films per year for the service, according to the two companies.

Production deals are commonplace in the entertainment industry, but what makes Monday’s announcement stand out is that it’s another sign of the changing dynamics in Hollywood. Streaming services, especially Netflix, have grown to major prominence in the industry. At the same time, traditional movie studios like Disney and CNN parent company WarnerMedia have gone all-in on streaming.

Spielberg directed some of the most beloved and successful films in history, including “Jaws,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Jurassic Park.” So his partnership with Netflix is significant. It’s one of the biggest names of Hollywood’s old guard working with a company that is redefining entertainment.

Spielberg, chairman of Amblin, said in a statement that “storytelling will forever be at the center of everything we do” and that when he started discussing a partnership with Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer, “it was abundantly clear that we had an amazing opportunity to tell new stories together and reach audiences in new ways.”

Spielberg added that he and Amblin are excited to work with Netflix and will continue to work with longtime partners like Universal Pictures.

The announcement is also notable because Spielberg has been critical of streaming in the past. For example, Spielberg told ITV News in 2018 that “once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie.”

However, Spielberg has since been clearer about his support of film on the big or small screen.

“I want people to find their entertainment in any form or fashion that suits them,” Spielberg told the New York Times in 2019. “Big screen, small screen — what really matters to me is a great story and everyone should have access to great stories.

Netflix and Amblin did not say how long long the multi-year deal would be nor if Spielberg would direct any films that would land on Netflix. Financial details were also not disclosed.

“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,” Sarandos said in a statement. “We cannot wait to get to work with the Amblin team and we are honored and thrilled to be part of this chapter of Steven’s cinematic history.”

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