Unlike other studios such as Warner Bros. with HBO Max, Sony doesn’t have its own streaming service. So it’s not as easy for them to merely drop their future releases on their own platform after they’ve had their theatrical run. But that’s where Netflix has stepped in.
The streaming giant has struck a multiyear deal with Sony for exclusive first pay window licensing rights, beginning with Sony’s 2022 films such as Morbius and Uncharted. The deal will see Netflix have exclusive streaming rights to Sony’s new movies for 18 months, beginning in 2022.
Warner Bros. is streaming its new releases day-and-date on HBO Max this year, while Paramount is waiting 45 days before it puts its new releases on Paramount+. While we don’t know the window, we do know that the Sony films will not hit Netflix before they play in cinemas and are released on home entertainment, which gives Sony maximum opportunity to profit from box office and home video.
But the deal also comes with a few bonuses. First, Netflix gets access to a number of titles in Sony’s library of films, so expect to see a lot of older Sony movies hit the streaming service at some point.
Secondly, Netflix gets a first-look at any direct-to-streaming titles that Sony is considering skipping theatrical releases. So if Sony decides a film would be better as a streaming title, it will go straight to Netflix. Very similar to how Paramount has recently sold a number of films to Amazon, except these deals won’t be done on a film-by-film basis.
The Sony-Netflix deal does not begin until 2022, which means big titles like Spider-Man: No Way Home – out in December – are not included as part of the deal. But films that are include Jared Leto‘s Marvel movie Morbius, Tom Holland‘s Uncharted, the Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse sequel, and the Brad Pitt/Sandra Bullock actioner Bullet Train.
This deal also probably signals that Sony isn’t interested in getting into the streaming wars themselves any time soon. But this deal makes sense for both parties.
Sony presumably gets a nice cash sum and a guaranteed streaming home for their films, while Netflix gets fresh movies and library titles to bulk up their roster of content, which has become harder to maintain as studios have begun their own titles for their own brand spanking new streaming platforms.