Netflix has acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company (RDSC) giving them access to a classic catalog of stories written by British novelist Roald Dahl (1916-1990).
Dahl’s iconic works include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The BFG, and The Twits (pictured at top).
The deal culminates a relationship that first began in 2018, when Netflix announced that it would produce an extensive slate of series and specials based on Dahl’s work.
Netflix has since confirmed that it is spending approximately one billion dollars to produce Dahl-themed family animation. The most significant announced project to date is a series based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, helmed by Taika Waititi and Phil Johnston (Ralph Breaks the Internet).
Netflix hasn’t announced specifics about most of the Dahl projects it’s cooking up, however, it has confirmed development on an adaptation of Matilda the Musical with Sony and Working Title.
The streamer has big plans for Dahl beyond animation. It aims to create a “unique universe across animated and live action films and tv, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theater, consumer products, and more.” In all, there are currently 19 tv shows, films, stage shows, and live experiences in various stages of planning.
“We have worked with Netflix over the last few years on several projects and have come to know them, not only as a company that drives for creative excellence, but also as a team who have a deep love for Dahl’s stories,” says Luke Kelly, managing director, RDSC, and Dahl’s grandson. “We know that they will work closely with us to safeguard, nurture, and grow these stories and guard their unique spirit in the coming years. We simply could not think of a better partner to support our mission.”
RDSC, which employs 26 people out of London, will continue to operate as an autonomous unit within Netflix. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The company has a long history of supporting charitable causes and it will use a “significant part” of the Netflix sale proceeds to set up a charitable trust and work with organizations dedicated to children’s health, anti-hate, and anti-racism. The latter is particularly notable as Dahl was openly anti-Semitic.