Netflix Paid Double Lionsgate’s Offer for Knives Out Sequels, Refused Deal to Package Trilogy

After reinventing Star Wars with The Last Jedi, filmmaker Rian Johnson made his mark on the murder mystery with his “Benoit Blanc Mystery” movie, Knives Out. The film grossed over $300 million at the global box office and nabbed Johnson a Best Original Screenplay nomination at the Academy Awards. Johnson made a wise business decision for the series though, holding onto the sequel rights and meaning that studio Lionsgate didn’t immediately have the rights to follow-up movies. When it came time for more movies though Netflix stepped in and according to a new report threw down A LOT of money for the rights.

Speaking at SeriesFest in Denver, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer opened up about how the streamer snatched the series away from them and then refused to play ball when they offered a chance to collaborate. According to Deadline, Feltheimer revealed that Netflix paid “at least twice what Lionsgate’s limit” was for the second and third Knives Out movies. He also noted that when he attempted to reach out to Netflix and offer an exchange, “loaning” the first film in the series to the streamer in exchange for the two studios packaging all three of the movies together for “lucrative ancillary markets.” Netflix refused.

Feltheimer revealed he told Netflix, ‘We’re going to make a lot of money; we’ll distribute it, we’ll take a distribution fee, send it back to you.’ It’s an interesting, organic idea for them. They thought about it and they said, ‘No.’….That was then and this is now. So, I’m going to go back to them. Same idea, Ted.”

The studio CEO spent a bit of his panel time talking about the colossal spending that Netflix has done over the years and how it seems to have caught up with them. “They decided they were just going to do a slash and burn and get to more subs than anyone and no one would ever catch them,” Feltheimer said. “They would just spend and spend, and if anyone else tried to spend as much, they would go out of business. That was pretty much their strategy. But they got to a point where they started slowing down, and we had the pandemic. And I think that maybe they didn’t pivot quite quickly enough. But they’re going to pivot. They still have a tremendous business.”


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The first Knives Out sequel, whose title has not yet been confirmed, will be released later this year both in theaters and on Netflix. Daniel Craig is back as detective Benoit Blanc, starring alongside Dave Bautista, Edward Norton, Janelle Monae, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, Madelyn Cline, Jessica Henwick, and Ethan Hawke.