Netflix pays nearly half a billion dollars for Knives Out sequels

Knives Out -- Courtesy of Lionsgate
Knives Out -- Courtesy of Lionsgate /

Hoping to compete with the likes of Disney+, Netflix paid $450 million for the sequels to Knives Out, one of the biggest movie rights deals ever made.

Rian Johnson’s 2019 murder mystery Knives Out was an unexpected delight, a twisty caper that was deservedly nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars. It was only a matter of time before we saw a sequel, but I don’t think many expected it to be on Netflix.

Then again, that’s where all the money is nowadays, so maybe we should have expected. And indeed, Netflix is shelling out a lot of dough for the privilege of streaming both Knives Out 2 and Knives Out 3, clever subtitles doubtlessly forthcoming. According to Variety, the streaming has plunked down $450 million on the films, one of the biggest deals for the rights to a movie series ever made.

The original Knives Out starred Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, a brilliant, Sherlock Holmes-ian private detective who spun out the mystery behind the murder of wealthy novelist Harlan Thrombey. It’s unclear if the sequels will involve Benoit Blanc solving new mysteries or if the entire cast from the first movie will return. Either way, Daniel Craig is surely happy. One executive at a Netflix competitor (not sure which one) told Variety that hefty salary bumps are probably in order for Craig, as well as any other returning actors. (Craig made over $20 million on recent James Bond movies.) A lot of that eye-popping price tag will likely go towards marketing so the sequels will be seen as major events.

The first movie, in contrast, came out without a ton of fanfare and blew up because people liked it. The whole thing cost $40 million to make and made $311.4 million at the box office. And yes, that does mean that Netflix is paying more for the rights to the Knives Out series than the original film brought in. But you gotta bet big to win big, I suppose, especially when Disney+ or whoever will if you don’t.

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