Netflix Ending Epix License Deal30 Aug, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Netflix is not renewing a content license agreement with Epix, CCO Ted Sarandos disclosed Aug. 30 in a blog post. The reported $1 billion deal signed in 2010 gave Netflix access to select major theatrical movies 90 days after bowing on the multi-platform pay-TV service co-owned by Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Sarandos said the decision not renew (at the end of September) a deal that gave the subscription streaming pioneer access to high-profile movies such as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, World War Z and Transformers: Age of Extinction, is largely due to increased emphasis on original programming, including theatrical releases.
“Just like we’ve changed the game for TV watchers by releasing entire seasons [binge viewing] around the world at the same time, we have begun making movies that will premiere on Netflix globally and in some cases, simultaneously in theaters,” Sarandos wrote.
Netflix, which will release it first feature film — Beasts of No Nation Oct. 16 in select theaters day-and-date with global streaming, isn’t interested in conforming to traditional release windows — a tact it can follow with proprietary content.
“Many of these [Epix] movies … are also widely available on cable and other subscription platforms at the same time as they are on Netflix and subject to the same drawn out licensing periods [windows]. Through our original films and some innovative licensing arrangements with the movie studios, we are aiming to build a better movie experience for you,” Sarandos wrote.
Change in the Epix deal was foreshadowed in 2012 when Netflix agreed to make it non-exclusive (and less expensive), thereby enabling the pay-TV platform to co-license content to Amazon Prime Instant Video.
More importantly, next year Netflix becomes the exclusive domestic pay-TV home to theatrical movies from Walt Disney Studios, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel. The majority of these films will arrive on Netflix faster than traditional arrangements had previously allowed.
Meanwhile, Netflix in December will bow Ridiculous Six, the first of four original movie comedies from Adam Sandler. In addition, Sofia Coppola directs Bill Murray in A Very Murray Christmas, what Netflix describes as “a form-bending holiday classic-to-be.” Coppola and Murray worked together in 2003’s Lost in Translation.
In 2016, Netflix will debut Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Green Legend in China, in addition to Pee-wee Herman in Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, produced by Judd Apatow.
Other non-original movies coming to Netflix include Minions, Hotel Transylvania 2 and Home via deals with Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation and DreamWorks Animation, respectively.