Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have long been the subject of speculation regarding their next long-term tenure after the recently-concluded global juggernaut HBO series. While a deal with Disney has procured them the dream gig of writing and directing a Star Wars film, it appears that Netflix has emerged the winner in a bidding war to retain them for an overall deal; one that could reportedly cost said winner $300 million!
Indeed, the Emmy-winning executive-producer/showrunner duo of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (D&D, if you will,) are set to make Netflix their creative home for film and television projects, with a five-year deal yielding an amount that’s said to be in the nine-figure range, and, as mentioned, could be as high as $300 million, according to Deadline.
As Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos lauds of the deal:
“We are thrilled to welcome master storytellers David Benioff and Dan Weiss to Netflix. They are a creative force and have delighted audiences worldwide with their epic storytelling. We can’t wait to see what their imaginations will bring to our members.”
The bidding war, reportedly brokered on the duo’s behalf by Gretchen Rush, their longtime attorney at Hansen Jacobson Teller, had reached its final stages in recent days, with candidates whittled down to the corporate titans consisting of their former Game of Thrones stomping grounds of HBO/WarnerMedia, their future Star Wars cinematic stay, Disney, along with Comcast, Amazon and Apple. However, Netflix ultimately won the proverbial War of the Five Kings amongst platforms. It’s a development that is especially interesting, since the normally spendthrift and green-light-happy streaming giant has been tightening its proverbial belt as of late with a spree of cancellations; a move that, in retrospect, might be designed to pad coffers for exorbitant mega-deals like this one.
As Benioff and Weiss state of their new deal:
“We’ve had a beautiful run with HBO for more than a decade and we’re grateful to everyone there for always making us feel at home. Over the past few months we’ve spent many hours talking to [Netflix Vice President] Cindy Holland and [Netflix Acquisitions Executive] Peter Friedlander, as well as [Netflix Chief Content Officer] Ted Sarandos and [Netflix Head of Original Films] Scott Stuber. We remember the same shots from the same ‘80s movies; we love the same books; we’re excited about the same storytelling possibilities. Netflix has built something astounding and unprecedented, and we’re honored they invited us to join them.”
The duo’s fortune-bestowing Netflix agreement arrives in the aftermath of controversy over the final season of Game of Thrones which, despite varying opinions, had to wrap-up a grandiose storyline within the unfortunately short confines of the abbreviated six-episode framework of Season 8. With the story not ending the way that some of the fandom would have liked, said controversy culminated with a shot across the bow to Benioff and Weiss with a petition to have said season remade with “competent” writers; a prospect that, make no mistake, was never going to happen, opinions on Season 8 notwithstanding.
The Netflix deal might also leave in question some of the other items on the Benioff/Weiss backlog, notably the long-discussed HBO TV project, Confederate, which may have been snake-bit from the outset from its dystopic future-set new American Civil War premise (a story spark that may not be welcome in today’s political powder keg). Interestingly, Benioff (sans Weiss,) co-wrote the October-scheduled Will Smith actioner, Gemini Man, but the duo is also attached to an untitled Kurt Cobain biopic for Universal, as well as prison break movie Dirty White Boys for Fox (under the Disney tentpole). As for the duo’s Star Wars tenure, that’s still far off on the horizon, with the first film (with trilogy potential,) currently penciled-in for a December 16, 2022 release.
Regardless, it’s quite clear that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have emerged from the real-life battles over Game of Thrones’ final season slightly scathed, but with enough figurative (and, perhaps, literal) gold to buy King’s Landing.
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