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Apr 8, 2021

Netflix gets 'Spider-Man,' 'Jumanji' in multiyear Sony deal

Netflix plans to open an office in Canada

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Netflix Inc. secured exclusive U.S. rights to new movies from Sony Pictures after they leave theaters, in a multiyear agreement giving the streaming giant upcoming films in the popular “Jumanji” and “Spider-Man” franchises.

The entertainment division of Japan’s Sony Corp. also gave Netflix the first chance to buy movies that aren’t headed for theaters and take part in their production, another potential pipeline of original films. Financial terms of the deal announced Thursday weren’t disclosed, though Bloomberg News previously reported Sony was seeking as much as US$250 million a year.

The titles from Sony include some of the most-popular film franchises at the box office year in and year out. Netflix will also be the streaming home for “Morbius,” a spinoff of “Spider-Man,” as well as “Where the Crawdads Sing,” an adaptation of the bestselling novel.

The agreement starts with Sony’s 2022 movie slate. Sony’s previous pay-TV deal was with Starz, owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

Shares of Netflix rose as much as 1.8 per cent to US$556.90 in New York after the news, their highest in more than a month. Lions Gate also briefly spiked, rising as high as US$16.28, before retreating.

These titles won’t attract millions of new subscribers to Netflix, which already releases nearly 60 original movies a year. But they do keep users entertained in between new series. Netflix previously offered new movies from Walt Disney Co., until the studio decided to keep its movies on Disney+.

Sony is the only major Hollywood studio that isn’t owned by a company that competes with Netflix in streaming. Universal, owned by Comcast Corp., is weighing whether to renew a deal with HBO Max or keep its movies for Peacock.

Netflix didn’t say how long Sony’s movies will play in theaters before they appear on the streaming platform. Other movie studios have shortened the time between theatrical and home viewing, but the lag may increase a bit when COVID-19 cases fall and theaters are reopened worldwide.