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Netflix Splurges Over £500 Million for the Entire Works of Roald Dahl

Get ready for the Roald Dahl Cinematic Universe…

Credit: solarisgirl/Flickr

Netflix has bought the rights to all of Roald Dahl’s works in a deal costing the company over £500 million.  The streaming giant acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company, which is owned by the family of the late author.  This was an extension of a deal made in 2018 that allowed Netflix to create animated series based on Dahl’s books.  Netflix intends to create a universe entirely centered around Dahl’s popular children’s fiction, with stories such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being reimagined as an animated series.

While both Netflix and the RDSC did not disclose the exact amount of money exchanged in the deal, the original agreement was reportedly worth between £500 million and £1 billion.  Now, as the streaming company is faced with strong competition in Disney+ and HBO Max, among others, the deal is a crucial opportunity.  The works of Roald Dahl have been translated into 63 languages and sold over 300 million copies, as well as many being made into popular movies, such as Matilda, and two different adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Netflix hopes to create a universe comprising live-action films, animations, games, interactive experiences, and more, all featuring celebrated works by Roald Dahl, such as Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Dahl’s grandson and managing director of the RDSC asserted his approval of the venture on a blog post featured on the official Netflix site, saying,

‘Together, we have an extraordinary opportunity to write multiple new chapters of these beloved stories, delighting children and adults around the world for generations to come.’ 

The new Netflix universe was announced with a video of a Wonka bar from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being unwrapped to display the ‘Netflix’ Golden Ticket.

Two of Dahl’s most popular tales are currently being made into Netflix productions, as ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is being adapted into an animated series, with Oscar-winner Taika Waititi at the helm.  Netflix is also working on an adaptation of ‘Matilda the Musical’.

Some have wondered whether Netflix should promote Dahl’s works, as the author had a history of anti-Semitism, his family apologising in December for anti-Semitic comments that the author had made in interviews in 1983 and 1990.  While Netflix will establish a charity, using the proceeds of the ‘Roald Dahl Universe’ to combat racism and hate, as well as supporting children’s health, some of the Jewish community have asked that Netflix produce a documentary highlighting his anti-Semitism.

While many of Roald Dahl’s most popular works have already been made into equally if not more popular movies, it will be exciting to see what direction Netflix takes with these widely loved works.  However, the possibilities for exciting new shows and movies are endless when considering Dahl’s less famous works, such as James and the Giant Peach, The Twits, George’s Marvellous Medicine, and other works receiving less attention on the big screen. 

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