Netflix has acquired the rights to the works of iconic British writer Roald Dahl, with the streaming service now able to create projects revolving around such beloved titles as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James & The Giant Peach, The BFG, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda and many more. The agreement is being heralded as the streaming service's biggest content deal to date as Netflix ups the ante in the ongoing streaming wars.
Netflix already had a three-year deal in place with the Roald Dahll Story Company (RDSC) which allowed them to license some of the writer's most famous titles, but this new deal now means that Netflix has acquired the golden ticket, buying the entire business and thus giving them access to all manner of stories and characters. This deal with the Roald Dahl Story Company will no doubt strengthen their place among the streaming competition, which has gradually emerged thanks to the arrival of the likes of Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and Disney+.
In fact, Netflix already has several Roald Dahl-based projects in the pipeline, including a television series based on the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which is due to be helmed by Jojo Rabbit and Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi, and an adaptation of Matilda the Musical. Ultimately, it was these burgeoning projects which opened the streaming giant's eyes to the potential inherent in adapting the works of Roald Dahl.
"These projects opened our eyes to a much more ambitious venture," Netflix said of the deal in a statement. "The creation of a unique universe across animated and live-action films and TV, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theatre consumer products and more."
"As we bring these timeless tales to more audiences in new formats, we're committed to maintaining their unique spirit and their universal themes of surprise and kindness, while also sprinkling some fresh magic into the mix," the statement continues. "We want to say a huge thank you to all the people who have contributed to this great story so far. Looking ahead, we're excited to continue the close working relationships established by RDSC with existing rights holders, publishing, theatre and entertainment partners, and many others to protect and grow the great legacy of these beloved stories."
The managing director of RDSC, who happens to be Dahl's grandson Luke Kelly, had this to say about the new deal with Netflix: "Our mission at the Roald Dahl Story Company is to share the stories' messages of hope and of the power and the possibility of young people. We believe being part of a larger company will give us the additional support to continue in that mission. Netflix has agreed to acquire RDSC in a transaction that will build on the success that we have achieved in recent years."
The works of the celebrated novelist Roald Dahl have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide, with the writer creating unique worlds full of quirky, sometimes disturbing imagination. His most recognized titles include the likes of James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, The Twits, and George's Marvellous Medicine, many of which have been adapted before in both animated and live action form. No doubt Netflix will now be on the hunt for talented filmmakers who can bring something new to these tales, and bolster the streaming service's original content.
Matilda the Musical will be Netflix's next Roald Dahl project, and is based on the hugely popular stage musical version of the story.