Walt Disney Co. (DIS:US) agreed to create four television series for Netflix Inc. (NFLX:US) using Marvel characters such as Daredevil, adding to the online-streaming service’s growing lineup of original content.
Disney’s Marvel TV will start bringing the shows to Netflix in 2015, according to a statement today. They will focus on heroes battling villains in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Netflix committed to a minimum of four 13-episode series, culminating in the miniseries “The Defenders.”
The multiyear deal extends Marvel’s push into live-action TV, following the September debut of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on Disney’s ABC network. Netflix gains more Disney content following an agreement last year for rights to show movies including Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm titles.
“What’s exciting for a company like Disney and us is the willingness to try something new,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said Nov. 4 at the Business of Entertainment event in Los Angeles, sponsored by Bloomberg and the Tribeca Film Festival.
Disney is mining deeper in Marvel’s library following box-office success since purchasing the comic-book company in 2009. “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3” were the top-grossing films of 2012 and 2013 respectively. “Guardians of the Galaxy,” about a team of superheroes in space, is planned for next year, and an Ant-Man movie is scheduled for 2015.
The Defenders alliance has featured a shifting cast of Marvel characters since its comic-book debut in 1971. Hulk, Silver Surfer and Hellcat have all made appearances.
The first of the new Hell’s Kitchen series, based on Daredevil, will be followed by shows with characters Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage.
Netflix is expanding its content investment as it battles with Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN:US), the largest online retailer, and Hulu LLC for online viewers. In the third quarter, Los Gatos, California-based Netflix passed Time Warner Inc. (TWX:US)’s premium-cable outlet HBO in paid U.S. subscribers, and reached a domestic total of 31.1 million.
Shares of Los Gatos, California-based Netflix fell 1.8 percent to $329.64 at 1:44 p.m. in New York, while Burbank, California-based Disney fell 1.9 percent to $67.68.
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