HBO has the ending Game of Thrones and whatever spinoffs they create from it. Amazon has their juggernaut of a Lord of the Rings series in the works. Lionsgate is developing a TV series, movies, and more based on Patrick Rothfuss’s “The Kingkiller Chronicle” books.
Now, to keep the party going, Netflix has a second big name fantasy title on the way. In addition to their series based on The Witcher, they’ve announced that they are developing new series and films based on author C.S. Lewis‘s “The Chronicles of Narnia” books.
Here’s the announcement and some quotes from the official press release:
Netflix will develop new series and film projects based on C.S. Lewis’ beloved The Chronicles of Narnia series. Under the terms of a multi-year deal between Netflix and The C.S. Lewis Company, Netflix will develop classic stories from across the Narnia universe into series and films for its members worldwide. All series and films produced through the deal 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. The deal marks the first time that rights to the entire seven books of the Narnia universe have been held by the same company.
“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.”
“The Chronicles Of Narnia” has of course been adapted before. Attempting to surf the monster wake left by the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was released in 2005. It didn’t do too badly, either, raking in over $745 million worldwide according to Box Office Mojo. But it also had a massive budget of $180 million. For comparison the first Lord of the Rings movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, cost only $93 million to make and earned well over $871 million worldwide.
Things did not go well from there. The sequel to Wardrobe, Prince Caspian cost an astonishing $225 million—only $56 million less than the ENTIRE Lord of the Rings trilogy cost—and made less than $420 million worldwide. A third entry, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, trimmed the budget down a bit to $155 million, but still only managed to make less than $416 million worldwide.
Again, to compare: the second Rings installment, The Two Towers, improved on the first film’s numbers with over $926 million on a $94 million budget, while the third, Return of the King, stormed the box office to the tune of almost $1.2 billion on a $94 million budget and stormed the next Academy Awards winning 11 Oscars including Best Picture.
This all makes the fact that both now have new adaptations on the way even more intriguing. While we won’t have box office stats like this to compare with, it will be quite interesting to see how Netflix’s Chronicles of Narnia stacks up against Amazon’s Lord of the Rings.
Another installment of the Narnia movie franchise, The Silver Chair, has been in the works for a while now. Just last year, in fact, it was reported that Captain America director Joe Johnston was set to helm the new entry.
With today’s news, however, that project appears to be dead.
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