The Business Angle of the Narnia-Netflix Deal

UPDATE: The article below was written a few days before Netflix officially confirmed they are indeed developing new Narnia content.


Last week, the Hollywood insider newsletter The Ankler alleged that Entertainment One, the company financing and distributing The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, has struck a deal with Netflix to produce a Narnia series.

Speculation is rampant. If true, this would be a big move for Narnia, but also a big move for the companies involved. After doing some research into the business side of this potential deal, we’ve found a few things that might be of interest to curious Narnia fans.

Netflix plans to double its original content.

The streaming giant already has over 200 original properties, but a recent study says it’s looking to add more than 250 new commissions to its current lineup. Competition is heating up between streaming services and Disney will be entering the foray next year, and that means Netflix will need a lot of new, original content in order to stay on top.

Entertainment One is investing less in films while ramping up television content.

In a conference call with investors and stock analysts in May, CEO Darren Throop said that they want to make fewer movies going forward. This follows last year’s trends of strong television growth and fewer, smaller budget films.

When asked about working with Netflix during the conference call, Throop also had this to say: “We’re trying and continuing to get involved a lot earlier in projects and then we’re kind of controlling underlying [intellectual property]. And then as we develop that property we would approach somebody like Netflix.”

This wouldn’t be the first time that eOne has shifted a project from film to television.

One of eOne’s recent releases, Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams on HBO, began development as a film before finding its footing as a miniseries. “We just couldn’t get the script right,” Darren Throop told The Hollywood Reporter in January. “There was a lot more story than we could jam into a one-hour, 50-minute feature, so we said let’s blow it out into six or seven hours.”

Throop also stressed how much the world of media is changing: “Over the past number of years, it’s become more and more evident that the lines are blurring at every level of film and TV.”

Stock analysts have speculated that Netflix may buy eOne and its whole portfolio.

Entertainment One is a publicly traded company and its stock price has been on the rise for the past year, indicating that investors are optimistic about the company’s prospects. Earlier this month, eOne struck a deal with Netflix to renew Designated Survivor for a third season after the show was cancelled by ABC  a move that boosted speculation about Netflix’s interest in buying the company.

Do you think that Narnia on Netflix makes good business sense? What about good storytelling sense? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

20 Responses

  1. Gavin says:

    Whether this gets out, it could be the only chance the franchise has so it would have nothing to worry about spending way too much money on special effects. Much like what Prince Caspian did when it underperformed at the BO.

  2. JFGII says:

    With all due respect, I’m in denile that this whole netflix-Narnia thing is actually happening. NarniaWeb ought to downplay this whole theory, cool as it appears. Best to not invest this deeply into a rumor that could change at any time, causing utter despair and widespread depression in good folks like Glumpuddle and GymFan if it’s proven false. Just saying.

  3. Cleander says:

    I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but they have been looking to get more family-friendly content on Netflix after their subscriptions dropped- because, according to someone, they had ignored the "faith-based, family-friendly" audience. Narnia would seem a reasonable solution (sigh) even though I really don't want this to happen unless the Silver Chair is still going on its own.

  4. Col Klink says:

    I'm actually kind of figuring this'll be the same as the Silver Chair movie. A lot of talk but nothing will come of it. But I've been trying to avoid mentioning this because I don't want to bring people excited about it down.

  5. Col Klink says:

    I haven't been one of the people particularly worried about Netflix making it really "mature" or sexed up for this reason (though I'm not especially interested in it any case.) I'm sure they want to appeal to as many markets as they can and Narnia might bring in an audience they don't already have.

  6. Mayor Wilkins says:

    I really think a Netflix show would be underwhelming.

    But then, I think a "Silver Chair" reboot movie would also be a mistake. Why on earth would anyone reboot a series of books near the end? Are MN, LWW, HHB, PC, and VDT going to be prequels? I don't know. I think it will confuse a great many people. "See the sequel to the last Narnia film you saw, but with an entirely new cast."

    If you're going to reboot the series, start with "The Magician's Nephew."

  7. ChristianMan17 says:

    This ‘Reboot’ idea has been the most rumored about this movie.
    It was Collider that started it all in the first place.
    Others are saying that it’s a reboot in the same vain that ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is a Reboot. It’s a Reboot of the Franchise, but it’s still continuing the same story.
    I just want answers that makes sense, just say “Yes” or “No” don’t just randomly “Oh, This is a Brand New Trilogy” u know? I don’t like people just throw random stuff that doesn’t make sense and just all of a sudden, it’s there!
    I just mainly wanted them to pretend that the seven swords and the stupid green mist never happened!
    I get that joe johnston said he doesn’t want it to look like the other movies, nor reference them, it may be because he wants to avoid copyright since Walden Media owns the first three movies and they don’t have the rights to the series anymore.
    There are a couple hints that Silver Chair is still a sequel to VDT. Joe johnston said at Comic Con Paris that ‘Its The fourth film in the series.’ And Tristar president, Hannah Minghella was also interviewed and she said that the world is not ready for a remake of LWW, The Silver Chair is the perfect movie to rejoin the franchise. ‘Rejoin’ means ‘reconnect’ pick up where you left off.

  8. Cleander says:

    YES! Don't remake what we've already seen! Just continue the Chronicles! I definitely want some solid answers about the future of the Silver Chair project by November…

  9. JFG11 says:

    The Silver Chair
    The Horse and His Boy
    The Magician's Nephew
    The Last Battle

    netflix original movies…

  10. ChristianMan17 says:

    the article says it has nothing to do with The Silver Chair movie. if you scroll down youll see the plot Symposis

  11. Glumpuddle says:

    ChristianMan17, that is nothing more than speculation by Box Office Revolution. Pay it no heed.

  12. Zach says:

    It'd be a pretty glorious 7-season miniseries.
    Each book can take it's time through a whole season or something.
    Do it either order (Chronologically or Publication Order).
    I'd love it!

    I've always thought the movies moved too fast anyway.

  13. Cleander says:

    Well, I said in August to wait till October before we panic about the lack of real news… You have my permission to start worrying any time now. I'll be joining you eventually. But hopefully not. We'll get news before too long, I shouldn't wonder.

  14. The Rose-Tree Dryad says:

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned yet that Throop rhymes with Rhoop. 😛

  15. Glumpuddle says:

    Maybe it's because that CEO is so difficult to remember…

  16. Cleander says:

    Tee hee hee! Perhaps that name coincidence is some sort of Sign… just not sure if I want to repeat that one to myself day and night…

  17. FriendOfNarnia2 says:

    I think this rumor could very likely be true. I remember seeing several articles like this one, stating Netflix wants to focus more on reaching the Christian/Family market. Narnia would fit both of those requirements.

  18. The Rose-Tree Dryad says:

    Great observation about Netflix and the Christian/Family market, Cleander and FriendofNarnia2! It's easy to imagine that Netflix might be interested in a high-profile franchise like Narnia if they want to break into that market.

  19. J Paper says:

    The confirmed Netflix story is an opportunity for Narnia adaptations to outgrow the problems of the Walden trilogy and to find a stable footing in the entertainment landscape.
    I hope that its presence on Netflix will aid the flow between the stories. 2 and half years is a huge gap between stories and I don't think that helped the Walden films to keep their audience, hence their declining audience base. Of course, there were several other factors.

  20. Sam says:

    I'm surprised a film studio would think it was too soon to remake LWW. The Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie came out in 2002, Marc Webb retold the same story in 2012. So 10 years between the 2, not counting the sequels to the original which came in between. It's been now 13 years since LWW and honestly if they were to begin by remaking those, I would not be that troubled as long as they have a longer term plan in mind to produce the rest.

    Ideally, given a perfect budget, I would try to do a Lord of the rings style production to develop the first 4 books at one time and then release them back-to-back, which story-wise makes sense because you follow the pevensies through the first three then transfer to Eustace in the mid two. Then take time to develop the last 3 books one at a time, slower starting with MN… that way if I'm lucky I could use the same Pevensie actors as their more adult selves in HHB, and LB, then do I special edition of LWW released to download with the original actors as their adult selves there too.