LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) is in “active discussions” with Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) about keeping Marvel and “Star Wars” films after 2019 when new Disney and Pixar movies will stop appearing on the streaming service, a senior Netflix executive said on Thursday.
Disney announced on Tuesday that it was pulling new Disney and Pixar films from Netflix starting with its new releases in 2019 and will put the movies on a new Disney-branded online service.
Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger told analysts the company had not yet decided where it would distribute superhero films from Marvel Studios and movies from “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm, which Disney owns, at that time.
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Reuters “we are still in active discussions” with Disney about the possibility of securing a deal to retain the rights to stream Marvel and Lucasfilm releases on Netflix after 2019.
A Disney spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Iger said on Tuesday the Marvel and Lucasfilm movies could go to Netflix or another streaming service after 2019, or Disney might retain the rights for itself.
Sarandos said he expected Disney’s service would be “complementary” to Netflix, which carries other family-friendly programming such as animated movies from “Despicable Me” creator Illumination Entertainment and “Shrek” producer Dreamworks Animation.
Disney’s plan to stream its content directly to consumers is “a natural evolution” for traditional media companies that Netflix expected, Sarandos said in an interview at an event to celebrate Emmy nominations for Netflix drama “The Crown”.
“That’s why we got into the originals business five years ago, anticipating it may be not as easy a conversation with studios and networks” to license their content, he added.
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman