Speed Reads

Streaming wars

What Netflix's new movie deal with Sony means for the streaming wars

Netflix is looking to build up its streaming offerings even more with a little help from Sony.

Sony Pictures Entertainment, the company behind franchises like Spider-Man and Jumanji, has signed a five-year deal that will give Netflix the exclusive U.S. streaming rights to its movies, The New York Times reports. The deal will begin with the films Sony releases in 2022, which will include Morbius and Uncharted. These movies will still debut in theaters and then go to premium video-on-demand, but they'll head to Netflix after that.

Some older movies from Sony are also expected to be licensed to Netflix, The Wall Street Journal reports, and Sony will make two to three movies a year for Netflix, according to the Times.

This move was "a sign of how much the streamer still really wants/needs other companies' titles," wrote The Washington Post's Steven Zeitchik. Indeed, Netflix has lost a number of high-profile titles from other studios in recent years like The Office and Friends, as rivals prepared to launch streaming competitors like Peacock and HBO Max. On the film side, Netflix has also lost the U.S. streaming rights to certain Marvel and Star Wars films that now live on Disney+.

So this deal, Deadline wrote, provided Netflix with an important "boost" amid "investor worries that it has lost key draws," and seeing as Sony produces the Spider-Man films, the Journal reported that getting more Marvel content was a "key incentive" for Netflix. It was also the latest example of Netflix looking to get major film franchises on its service, CNN's Frank Pallotta noted, after the streamer recently dropped over $450 million for the rights to two Knives Out sequels — though unlike with Sony's movies, those sequels actually debut on Netflix.

Either way, Netflix is clearly looking to bring in some big guns to help it stay competitive in the streaming wars, and perhaps Spider-Man and Benoit Blanc are just who they need.