The COVID-19 pandemic forced the movie industry to finally confront the streaming question, which is something they have been pretending wasn't an issue until it very much became one once the world came to a screeching halt. There hasn't been a universal "this is the way forward" line of thinking as every studio seems to be going about it in a different way. Disney is taking on a "by the movie" basis as far as what goes to PVOD and what doesn't and remains committed to the theatrical experience. Warner Bros. took a much more sweeping gesture by making all of their 2021 releases a hybrid release in theaters and on HBO Max, but they have said it is just for 2021. Universal inked out deals with AMC and Cinemark to shrink the theatrical window to fourteen days, and now that Regal is in business again, we can only assume they are working on a deal as well. Paramount cut the 90-day theatrical window in half to 45-days, and their movies will debut on Paramount+ after a theatrical run. Sony has remained quiet so far, delaying movies as it looks like things aren't opening up and keeping their heads down, but their deal has come to light. While every other studio has looked at Netflix as the enemy and wants to fight them by creating their own streaming service, Sony has looked at Netflix and decided that they will be allies. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony Pictures and Netflix have inked a deal that Netflix will get the first-pay-window rights following their theatrical and home release windows. The deal will go into effect in 2022 for theatrical movies.
"At Sony Pictures, we produce some of the biggest blockbusters and the most creative, original films in the industry. This exciting agreement further demonstrates the importance of that content to our distribution partners as they grow their audiences and deliver the very best in entertainment," said Keith Le Goy, Sony's president of worldwide distribution.
Added Netflix film head Scott Stuber: "This [deal] not only allows us to bring [Sony's] impressive slate of beloved film franchises and new IP to Netflix in the U.S., but it also establishes a new source of first-run films for Netflix movie lovers worldwide."
This deal gives Netflix the option to license a massive back catalog of movies that could really bulk up the library of the streamer now that they are losing Disney, Warner Bros., and Paramount properties to other streaming services. It will give them some Marvel titles, including the Spider-Verse movies and the Spider-Man Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and anything that comes from Morbius or Venom, though, because this will impact 2022 movies Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Spider-Man: No Way Home won't be part of this deal. Netflix has reportedly also committed to financing several titles from Sony, and these "will encompass the films that Sony intends to make directly for streaming from inception or decides at a later point to license for streaming." The deal is reportedly worth a billion dollars.
So when it comes to the streaming wars, instead of putting their own horse in the race, they decided to make friends because why fight with Netflix when you can just team up with them?