Netflix acquires ‘Kingsman’ and ‘Kick-Ass’ comic-book publisher for superhero content
NETFLIX will acquire comic-book publisher, Millarworld, in order to fuel its forthcoming gamut of original content with superhero narratives and diverse media offerings, as the service chases status as one of the biggest publishers in the world.
Millarworld is home to some of the most popular characters and stories in the comic-book world, including “Kingsman” – whose 2015 film was a global hit, grossing US$414.4 million at the box offices – “Kick-Ass” and “Old Man Logan”. The acquisition – Netflix’s first ever – was announced yesterday, though the amount was undisclosed, as reported by Bloomberg.
— Comic Fade (@ComicFade) August 7, 2017
Netflix’s acquisition of Millarworld is a signal of the company’s strategy to control more and more of its supply chain. When the company moved from its original business model of supplying DVDs and distributing films to its current focus on producing its own content – thus making it more and more like the broadcast channels it’s putting out of business – it marked the beginning of Netflix’s rise in prominence in the media world.
The deal between Millarworld and Netflix will see the two companies working together to jointly produce films, series, and children’s shows based off existing comic-book characters. Millarworld will also continue publishing comics under Netflix’s label, thus heralding the very first non-video content to emerge out from Netflix.
Netflix has begun working on other non-video products, such as toys and clothing, suggesting this is the first in a long-term trend that we’ll be able to chart. It makes sense, especially considering all the other streaming services that are looking into original content in order to differentiate themselves.
Increasingly, these streaming-video-on-demand (SVOD) companies are looking like traditional media companies, with wide range variety of goods. It might mean despite the value adds of digital products and the agility such services might afford, at the end of the day, physical products are a central goal.
The other strategy, of course, is the company’s pivot toward superhero intellectual properties. Netflix already produces superhero offerings through its “Defenders” series, featuring beloved Marvel characters such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Mark Millar, who founded Millarworld with his wife, Lucy, is a good fit to help lead the new venture, as he previously worked on the original sources for the hit films Avengers, Captain America: Civil War and Logan.
Superheroes have long been a cash cow for the film and television industry, with Hollywood heavyweights and broadcasters getting in on the game. The advent of the first Marvel film franchise, the Iron Man trilogy, heralded the beginning of a gilded age for superhero films and an unending cycle of sequels. Many industry watchers believe movie-goers are beginning to tire of the entire circus and we could begin to see demand for such films dwindle.
According to Bloomberg’s reporting, Netflix’s acquisition of Millarworld is a kind of insurance against the possibility that Disney will end its long-term movie deal with Marvel, which would effectively end Netflix’s access to the comic franchises through its own deal with Disney. It was through its Disney deal that Netflix gained access to Marvel IPs.
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