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Disney and Netflix Team Up for Marvel Superhero Original Series Bonanza

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by Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
November 7, 2013 1:20 PM
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Ben Affleck, now Batman/Bruce Wayne, as Daredevil in the 2003 film
Ben Affleck, now Batman/Bruce Wayne, as Daredevil in the 2003 film

It's the end of Hollywood's analog age. As Blockbuster prepares to close down all its remaining brick-and-mortar stores, Twitter launches a sizzling IPO, Amazon Studios airs two original TV series, and exhibitors and distributors continue to wrangle over release windows, clearly the ground is shifting. 

Now deep-pocketed rising star Netflix, which not only scored with Emmy-winner "House of Cards" but acquired a likely Oscar contender this week, has struck a major new content deal with Disney/Marvel. Beginning in 2015, Marvel TV will bring the live-action adventures of four Marvel characters exclusively to Netflix, in the form of multiple original series. Marvel is currently developing four serialized programs leading to a miniseries programming event.

So, which characters will be the focus of this programming bonanza? It will kick off with a series focused on “Daredevil,” followed by “Jessica Jones,” “Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage" -- all out of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Netflix has committed to a minimum of four, thirteen episodes series and a culminating Marvel’s “The Defenders” mini-series event that -- yes, just like "The Avengers" -- throws all the superheroes together. (Marvel is also cross-pollinating its cohesive universe with Joss Whedon's TV series "Agents of "S.H.I.E.L.D.")

Ted Sarandos, who recently ruffled feathers with day-and-date claims in a keynote address and then quickly backed away from the issue, stated that “Marvel’s movies, such as ‘Iron Man’ and Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’, are huge favorites on our service around the world...With ‘House of Cards’ and our other original series, we have pioneered new approaches to storytelling and to global distribution and we’re thrilled to be working with Disney and Marvel to take our brand of television to new levels with a creative project of this magnitude.”

This all follows last year’s deal wherein, starting in 2016, Netflix will be the exclusive U.S. subscription TV service for first-run, live-action and animated movies from the Walt Disney Studios, including titles from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Disneynature and Lucasfilm.  

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