Netflix isn’t going to get Disney’s “Frozen 2,” but it’s not yet frozen out of potentially getting streaming rights to Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars” franchise and Marvel Entertainment movies.
Netflix remains in “active discussions” with Disney about a deal for Lucasfilm and Marvel titles after the companies’ current movie-output deal expires in 2019, chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in an interview with Reuters.
On Tuesday, Disney said it plans to introduce its own direct-to-consumer Disney-branded subscription VOD service in 2019; it’s also looking to roll out an ESPN over-the-top streaming service in early 2018.
The Disney OTT service will exclusively offer movies from Pixar and Disney studios starting with 2019 releases — so Netflix won’t have those. But Disney has yet to decide whether it will re-up with Netflix for the Marvel and Lucasfilm lines. Those could be bundled into in the Disney-branded service, broken into their own subscription VOD services, or licensed to a third party — whether that’s Netflix, HBO, or another partner.
Sarandos told Reuters that Disney’s streaming service was a “natural evolution” for media companies and opined that the Mouse House’s OTT offerings will be “complementary” to Netflix. The exec added, “That’s why we got into the originals business five years ago, anticipating [negotiations to license content] may be not as easy a conversation with studios and networks.”
Netflix and Disney inked the licensing pact for the U.S. pay-TV window in 2012, under which Netflix secured streaming rights to the Mouse House’s films starting with 2016 releases. Netflix has had a similar “pay one” agreement for Disney titles in Canada starting with 2015 releases.
Disney’s 2019 theatrical slate includes the second “Frozen” movie, “Toy Story 4” and a live-action version of “The Lion King” from the Disney and Pixar lines.
Shares of Netflix dropped after Disney announced the plans for its direct-to-consumer streaming services and ending the deal with Netflix for Disney and Pixar films. After hitting record highs last month, Netflix’s stock has dropped 7% since Monday.
Separately from the Disney movie pact, Netflix has an extensive, multiyear deal with Marvel for original series based on Marvel’s street-hero characters, including “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist.”