In a deal that is sure to sting for previous partner Starz, Sony Pictures has struck a new deal with Netflix for the exclusive U.S. rights to stream Sony Pictures theatrical releases, starting with the studio’s 2022 slate of films. That deal includes future entries in the Spider-Man cinematic universe, such as Venom and its sequels, although the entanglement of the core, Tom Holland-fronted Spider-Man series makes its destination unclear for films such as Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, both of which have been left off Disney+ with the rest of the MCU. This Sony deal goes far beyond Spider-Man, though, also including the likes of Jumanji and Bad Boys, along with upcoming movies such as Morbius, Uncharted and Bullet Train, all of which will now stream on Netflix after their theatrical releases. Netflix already had a similar deal with Sony for their animated releases.
At the same time, Netflix has also set a first-look agreement with Sony for all the films Sony is producing for the direct-to-streaming market, although Sony will still be able to sell films to other streamers as well. Sony had previously primarily worked with the network Starz, currently owned by Lionsgate, and this loss of archival films and upcoming releases will only make their content library that much more threadbare in terms of comparison with the bigger players in the streaming marketplace.
The deal will include films from all the other sub-studios within Sony, including the likes of Sony Pictures Classics, Screen Gems, Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures, which will all head to Netflix after initial theatrical and home entertainment runs. How long those periods will be is hard to say—historically, they were around nine months, but the pandemic has increasingly normalized shorter periods between shortened theatrical runs and streaming debuts, and this may become the new consumer expectation.
“Sony Pictures is a great partner and we are thrilled to expand our relationship through this forward-thinking agreement,” said a statement from Netflix global film head Scott Stuber. “This not only allows us to bring their 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.”