Netflix plans Roald Dahl animated shows

Netflix Inc. said it signed an agreement with the Roald Dahl Story Co, but did not disclose the financial terms.
Netflix Inc. said it signed an agreement with the Roald Dahl Story Co, but did not disclose the financial terms.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (NYTIMES, REUTERS) - Netflix announced on Tuesday (Nov 27) that it has acquired the rights from Roald Dahl's estate to produce animated shows based on the acclaimed British author's many children's books, which include Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, James And The Giant Peach and Matilda.

"Our mission, which is purposefully lofty, is for as many children as possible around the world to experience the unique magic and positive message of Roald Dahl's stories," Mrs Felicity Dahl, his widow, said in a statement.

"This partnership with Netflix marks a significant move towards making that possible and is an incredibly exciting new chapter for the Roald Dahl Story Company. Roald would, I know, be thrilled."

It is not immediately clear how many animated series will be produced out of the partnership, but the streaming network said the agreement included many of Dahl's most popular books, including The BFG, Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator, The Magic Finger and The Enormous Crocodile. Production is set to begin next year.

Several of his works have already been transformed for the screen, such as the animated 1996 Disney adaptation of James And The Giant Peach and the 1971 film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder. There was also the Tony Award-winning musical Matilda, which ran on Broadway for almost four years, starting in 2013.

Dahl, who died in 1990 of a rare blood disorder at 74, himself frequently warned of the mind-damaging effects of television.

To make that point, the Oompa Loompas in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory at one point sing: "The most important thing we've learned/So far as children are concerned/Is never, NEVER, NEVER let/Them near your television set - Or better still, just don't install/The idiotic thing at all."

Netflix, which has kept aside US$8 billion (S$11 billion) to create original content this year, has already spent US$6.9 billion on TV shows and movies by the end of its third quarter.

The company had 137 million subscribers to its movie and TV streaming service worldwide by the end of September.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2018, with the headline 'Netflix plans Roald Dahl animated shows'. Print Edition | Subscribe