A bidding war of Hollywood heavyweights has reportedly been under way to lock in Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and today the duo committed to a contract with Netflix. The writer-producers issued a joint statement about their new contract, saying they came to choose the streaming giant after months of talks, during which the producers realized they “remember the same shots from the same ’80s movies” and “love the same books” as some Netflix execs. The company’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said, “We can’t wait to see what their imaginations will bring to our members.”
That doesn’t mean they’re working with Netflix exclusively, however, since Benioff and Weiss are already committed to making a Star Wars movie for Disney. Per industry sources and multiple trade reports over the last few months, several networks and streamers — including Amazon, Disney, and the WarnerMedia-owned HBO — had been in discussions with the duo about signing an overall deal. Netflix no doubt landed Benioff and Weiss for the same reasons Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes, and the Obamas have done deals with the streamer: a big paycheck, creative freedom, and, perhaps most important, an unrivaled international distribution platform. Critics sometimes complains shows can get lost on Netflix, thanks to the huge volume of originals it produces. But when it comes to its biggest shows and movies, no other linear or digital platform has the sort of international reach as Netflix or the ability to get tens of millions of viewers to watch something.
HBO had no immediate comment on the departure of Benioff and Weiss, but sources familiar with the situation say the writers-producers do not currently have any leftover projects in development at HBO that might be produced even after they depart. This means Confederate, the controversial alt-history project that imagined a world where the South had won the Civil War, is now officially dead at HBO.