Netflix announced a brand-new series based on the popular C.S. Lewis classic “The Chronicles of Narnia” this morning. The announcement earmarked the new series for members but also confirmed that Netflix plans to produce several film projects that are also based on the series. Under the terms of a multi-year deal between Netflix and The C.S. Lewis Company, Netflix will develop stories from across the Narnia universe into series and films for its members worldwide. This will be much different then Disney’s previous deal, as Netflix is now the first company to hold the rights to all seven books.
Through this deal, all series and films that are produced will be Netflix productions, with Mark Gordon of Entertainment One (eOne) alongside Douglas Gresham and Vincent Sieber serving as executive producers for series and as producers for features. In total, the Narnia books have sold more than 100 million copies and been translated in more than 47 languages worldwide.
“C.S. Lewis’ beloved Chronicles of Narnia stories have resonated with generations of readers around the world,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix. “Families have fallen in love with characters like Aslan and the entire world of Narnia, and we’re thrilled to be their home for years to come.”
“It is wonderful to know that folks from all over are looking forward to seeing more of Narnia, and that the advances in production and distribution technology have made it possible for us to make Narnian adventures come to life all over the world,” said Douglas Gresham, stepson of C.S. Lewis. “Netflix seems to be the very best medium with which to achieve this aim, and I am looking forward to working with them towards this goal.”
“Narnia is one of those rare properties that spans multiple generations and geographies,” said Mark Gordon, eOne’s President and Chief Content Officer, Film & Television. “eOne and I are excited to be collaborating with The C.S. Lewis Company and Netflix who have the capacity to translate the Narnia universe into both stellar feature-length and episodic programming. We cannot wait to get started on the multiple productions we hope to undertake.”
Narnia has been a popular topic for films and television in the past. From BBC produced TV specials, to Walt Disney’s own take on the franchise. In 2005 Disney debuted “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” a film that made $65M on opening weekend before grossing $745M worldwide. Disney followed up that film with “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” in 2008, which grossed $419M worldwide, and “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” in 2010 which made $415M.
Netflix stopped short of announcing a release window for the new series but fans will probably be most excited to hear about the casting. Stars like Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, and Liam Neeson, Warwick Davis, Peter Dinklage, and Simon Pegg all were featured in the Disney versions and it will be interesting to see who Netflix chooses for the new installment.
There’s an interesting battle between the content providers and streaming services to grab these types of sci-fi classics at the moment. HBO recently announced that the network will co-produce and distribute a new series based on the “His Dark Materials” series. You may know the first book, Northern Lights, by its other name ‘The Golden Compass,’ which had a movie adaptation in 2007 from Director Chris Weitz. The film featured Daniel Craig, Eva Green, and Sam Elliott. Netflix also had a series based on “A Series of Unfortunate Events” from Lemony Snicket, another children’s classic that was first a book, then a movie, then a Netflix original series.