What Movie Output Deals Could Netflix Get In The Future?

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Los Angeles HQ for Netflix – Picture: Netflix

Licensing is an expensive and tricky business. It’s got even trickier in the last few years with new players coming into the market. In this updated article for 2021, we’ll run you through all of the big movie studios and where their first window rights have ended up and which ones Netflix could possibly get. 

We’ll go through each of the major movie distribution companies and where their contracts are currently held with and how long its held for.

As of the time of publishing, Netflix in the US only holds one of its outstanding contracts with the major movie distribution studios and that’s with Sony Animation. It has lost Dreamworks and Disney in recent years.

Of course, Netflix’s strategy is becoming its own movie studio having now produced over 300 movies.

Note: This list covers the United States output deals with international rights sold separately. 

Disney

Current contract with: Disney
Renewal date: NA

We’ll begin with Disney as this will be the easiest to cover. Netflix did have a deal with Disney between 2016 and 2019 whereby new theatrical movies came to Netflix but that’s since expired as Disney is now fully focused on its own Disney+ service.

As a result, most Disney content is set to leave Netflix and it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see any new deals in place.


20th Century Fox

Current contract with: HBO
Renewal date: 2022

Longterm deals are fairly rare in the current climate but back in 2012, HBO extended their output deal with 20th Century Fox through 2022.

Although there’s a remote possibility this could be renewed, it seems growingly unlikely.

Where are the movies headed after 2022? Our safe bets would be on Hulu with some of the younger titles earmarked for Disney+.


Warner Bros.

Current contract with: HBO
Renewal date: Unknown

Warner Brothers are like Disney whereby it’s unlikely they’ll ever strike an output deal purely down to the fact they already have full vertical integration and investment in HBO Max.

In 2021, many of WB’s movies came day and date onto HBO Max and in 2022 that window is set to expand but still prioritize HBO Max. This will eventually be the case globally once HBO Max rolls out.

New Line Cinema also falls under the Warner Brother banner.


Universal

Current contract with: HBO
Renewal date: 2023

The bulk of Universal Pictures titles are signed exclusively to HBO at the moment. That deal was struck back in 2013 and is due to expire in 2023.

Whether Netflix bids for the contract in 2023 is yet to be known. Comcast now has its own active streaming service Peacock to service and is reportedly still mulling over the decision which is set to happen in late 2021.

Universal’s output is split into animation (which Netflix currently holds) and live-action which HBO currently holds. This is a wait and see as, unlike the previous three studios mentioned, how “in” Universal is on Peacock isn’t fully known.


Paramount

Current contract with: Paramount+
Renewal date: N/A

Netflix and Paramount could be a reliable source of content for Netflix going forward. The pair have already worked together on multiple projects in the past including Netflix distributing Cloverfield: Paradox and Annihilation.

With the release of Paramount+, it appears the first window rights are exclusive to the streaming service with movies set to hit the service 45 days after their theatrical release.

Hulu is last believed to have the Paramount first window rights which were last brokered in 2015 and 2010 before that.

Beyond the first window rights, Netflix and Paramount announced back in 2018 they were working on multiple films together which would premiere first on Netflix. That’s in addition to the partnership with Nickelodeon too.


Sony Pictures

Current contract with: Starz (soon to be Netflix)
Renewal Date: 2021

At present, Sony provides Netflix with many of its TV content but on the movies side, they’re currently locked up in a contract that expires in 2021. Their current deal is with Starz which is owned by Lionsgate.

That changed in April 2021 when it was announced Netflix would begin to carry new (and older) Sony movies starting in 2022 and believed to last for 5 years.


A24 Pictures

Current contract with: Amazon
Renewal Date: Unknown

Netflix in the United States continues to enjoy new and old A24 movies coming to Netflix on a regular basis although it only holds second window rights at the moment.

Amazon struck its first window deal back in March 2017 but did not mention the timeline of the deal.

Apple has signed exclusive deals with the provider. Much like Paramount’s deal with Netflix, it’s simply producing exclusive movies rather than its other theatrical releases.


Lionsgate / Summit Films

Current contract with: Hulu (then Starz)
Renewal Date: 2021

Lionsgate is one of the studios to strike a deal from short terms. Struck in July 2019, Lionsgate is working with Hulu and FX who will receive all movies released in 2020 and 2021.

With that deal up, Lionsgate movies will begin moving onto Starz (which previously had Sony to bolster its lineup). This also includes all of Summit films upcoming slate too.


Dreamworks SKG

Current contract with: Hulu
Renewal Date: Unknown

Netflix held the Dreamworks contract for multiple years with it first being struck back in 2011. Don’t forget the contract also extended to TV series which Netflix still gets plenty of including several lined up over the next few years.

Hulu picked up the movie output deal from Dreamworks in May 2018.


MGM

Current contract with: Epix (also Paramount to a lesser extent)

mgm logo

No surprise with this one. Similar to Lionsgate moving forward, MGM opts to put their top properties after theatrical releases on EPIX. It also has a relationship with Paramount where most of their movies wind up too. It’s unclear how long these arrangements are in place but it seems like they’re in place for the foreseeable future.

With MGM currently up for sale (according to multiple outlets), this could be a studio to watch.

Other Movie Studio Output Deals

Let’s now run through some of the other smaller movie studios.

  • STX Entertainment – Thought to be with Hulu
  • Lantern Entertainment – Unclear



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