October 3, 2018

USA: Netflix Secured Rights To The Chronicles Of Narnia Beloved Seven-Book Series By C.S. Lewis. Multi-Year Deal Is Going To Spin His Fantasy Works Into Multiple Films And Series. Yaaay! 👏😄💖

Vanity Fair
written by Yohana Desta
Wednesday October 3, 2018

Netflix is still hungry for a major franchise. Over the last few years, the streaming service has made strong attempts at cracking the blockbuster industry by putting out films like Bright and The Cloverfield Paradox, both of which had big names (Will Smith! J.J. Abrams!) and real serial potential. Both films failed with critics, however, and never managed to capture the wider audience zeitgeist. (Although Bright is getting a sequel anyway.) This means Netflix has kept searching for a series it can latch onto and turn into a never-ending stream of global hits—but the company may have just found the answer to its prayers. According to Variety, the streamer has secured the rights to The Chronicles of Narnia, the best-selling, beloved seven-book series by C.S. Lewis.

As part of a new multi-year deal between Netflix and the C.S. Lewis company, Netflix is going to to spin his fantasy works into multiple films and series. Further details for how the service will break down the books have not yet been revealed.

“C.S. Lewis’s beloved Chronicles of Narnia stories have resonated with generations of readers around the world,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, per Variety. “Families have fallen in love with characters like Aslan and the entire world of Narnia, and we’re thrilled to be their home for years to come.”

The series is a terrific boon to Netflix, an opportunity to gobble up some of Lewis’s immense pre-existing fandom and create a film franchise with serious legs. Though we’ll never know what’s really a hit at the secretive, ratings-hoarding platform, Narnia could be one of its biggest projects yet, capturing viewer attention in the way Bright and The Cloverfield Paradox failed to. It’s certainly the biggest property that Netflix has gotten its hands on thus far, and will help the streamer pose a direct threat to networks like Showtime—which is teaming up with Lin-Manuel Miranda for a Kingkiller Chronicles adaptation—and platforms like Amazon, which announced last November that it was turning The Lord of the Rings into a series.

Call it the Game of Thrones scramble. As HBO’s giant fantasy series comes to a close next year, other networks and streamers are racing to produce the next big serialized epic. While Amazon and Netflix might not put out their biggies in time to close that window (Thrones will likely end in spring 2019), they’re planting the seeds for the greater franchise war to come.

Nabbing Narnia also gives Netflix a chance to release a proper sci-fi/fantasy blockbuster—one genre in which the company has not yet planted a major flag. (The series Stranger Things, however, has certainly cornered that market in the TV space.) The Disney-backed film adaptations of the first three Narnia books—The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and Voyage of the Dawn Treader—were all international hits, grossing over $1 billion at the worldwide box office between them. And it’s been eight years since the last one, which died on the vine in the domestic market—so the time is ripe for a fresh approach. One thing is certain, though: if Netflix is going to do Narnia right, they’re going to spend a lot of money. But it’s not like Sarandos and co. have ever had a problem with that before.

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