Roald Dahl's works bought by Netflix as it plans Matilda and Willy Wonka content

Deal paves the way for 'live action films and TV, games and immersive experiences'

Netflix has acquired the entire works of British children's author Roald Dahl, creator of such classics as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG and Matilda.

The streaming business confirmed it acquired The Roald Dahl Story Company (RDSC), the family firm that owns the author's copyright.

The deal paves the way for a slew of related content for Netflix, including TV series, games and movies, as it attempts to compete with rivals such as Amazon and HBO.

Netflix in 2018 signed a deal with the company to create animated series based on 16 Dahl books.

"This acquisition builds on the partnership we started three years ago to create a slate of animated TV series," said Netflix co-chief executive Ted Sarandos and Luke Kelly, managing director of the RDSC and Dahl's grandson in a joint statement.

Under the previous deal, Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi and Zootropolis screenwriter Phil Johnston are working on a series based on the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and an adaptation of Matilda the Musical is under way.

"These projects opened our eyes to a much more ambitious venture – the creation of a unique universe across animated and live action films and TV, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theatre, consumer products and more," Netflix said.

“Our mission at the Roald Dahl Story Company is to share the stories’ messages of hope and of the power and the possibility of young people," Kelly said.

“We believe being part of a larger company will give us the additional support to continue in that mission. Netflix has agreed to acquire RDSC in a transaction that will build on the success that we have achieved in recent years.”

Kelly said a Dahl book is sold every 2.6 seconds, and have been translated into 63 languages and sold more than 300 million copies worldwide.

Dahl died in 1990 aged 74 after penning several classic titles including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, The Twits, The Witches and The BFG.

The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 quoted sources as saying the licensing deal covering 16 Dahl books cost Netflix more than $100 million.

Updated: September 22nd 2021, 1:27 PM
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