Netflix announced a new feature film deal with Amblin Partners on Monday, the film studio started by acclaimed director Steven Spielberg. Amblin Partners will produce multiple feature films per year for the streaming service, some of which could theoretically be produced, developed, and directed by Spielberg.
Along with the announcement, Spielberg shared his excitement over the new partnership:
This new avenue for our films, alongside the stories we continue to tell with our longtime family at Universal and our other partners, will be incredibly fulfilling for me personally since we get to embark on it together with Ted [Sarandos], and I can’t wait to get started with him, Scott [Stuber], and the entire Netflix team.
If Amblin sounds familiar, it’s probably because of Amblin Entertainment, the production company nestled inside Amblin Partners that’s shepherded all kinds of movies to the big screen, from classics like E.T. the Extraterrestrial to odder entries like The House with a Clock in Its Walls. Amblin Partners doesn’t have an exclusive relationshipwith Netflix, however. Deadline reports the company will produce and develop films simultaneously for Universal Pictures as well.
Spielberg has made comments in the past that some have construed as being critical of streaming services, specifically Netflix’s practice of running a film in theaters for a few weeks to qualify for awards. “I don’t believe that films that are just given token qualifications, in a couple of theaters for less than a week, should qualify for the Academy Award nominations,” Spielberg said in the lead-up to the 91st Oscars. Still, splitting Amblin’s output between Universal and Netflix means that where it matters (likely the films Spielberg directs himself) the theatrical experience will be preserved.
And for Netflix, even if a new Spielberg-directed project never graces its servers, it still gets the benefit of his name and the long Hollywood history behind Amblin. Which is maybe just as worthwhile as tossing a bone to Martin Scorsese every once an a while.