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The filmmaker, who this week started production on Netflix’s action-adventure feature The Adam Project, has signed a five-year, first-look film and TV deal with the streaming giant.
Sources describe the combined film and TV deal as being in the nine-figure range, which represents an eye-popping sum for a non-writing producer. Levy and his 21 Laps Entertainment banner’s current film deal is with Fox and with that pact expiring in December, the company was courted by multiple studios for his film deal. The streaming giant ultimately stepped up to bring the producer behind mega-hits Stranger Things, Unsolved Mysteries and, more recently, holiday rom-com Dash & Lily, completely in-house.
Perhaps even more telling is that the deal, per sources, is separate from Levy’s lucrative pact for Stranger Things. Levy previously negotiated back-end fees for the global phenomenon as part of his previous TV overall deals with the streamer. Stranger Things, which returns for its fourth season next year, already has a deal for a couple more seasons as creators the Duffer brothers already know how and when it ends.
The combined film and TV pact should be considered a reward for the hits Levy’s company has delivered to the streamer and a sign that Netflix wants film and TV programming with broad appeal. This is Levy’s third TV deal with Netflix. His last pact with the streamer had another year on it. Thursday’s new deal adds four years to that side of the pact as Levy will now be based at Netflix through 2025.
Levy is known for his light touch and such broad and heartfelt fare as the Night at the Museum franchise, Real Steel and the upcoming Ryan Reynolds video game movie Free Guy. As a producer he was involved with movies such as Denis Villeneuve’s Oscar-winning sci-fi drama Arrival and Sundance darling Spectacular Now.
He runs 21 Laps with partners Dan Levine and Dan Cohen. Josh Barry heads the TV division.
“My ambition with 21 Laps was to build a company that would be fiercely committed to empowering storytellers across a broad swathe of genres,” said Levy in a statement. “I was hungry to find and enable other voices and visions, and share them with the broadest, most global audience possible. Netflix provides a unique platform and culture — one where our creative partners and instincts are championed, and stories that we tell across an eclectic spectrum of styles and tone can reach hundreds of millions of people around the world. I’m proud of what our company has done thus far and prouder still of the singular caliber and longevity of our 21 Laps team.”
21 Laps is already knee deep in the TV end with Netflix. On top of Stranger Things, the banner is producing the documentary series Unsolved Mysteries, the new holiday romantic series Dash & Lily, upcoming series Shadow and Bone, and the recently announced Lost Ollie.
The company has numerous feature projects in the works and is in post on horror-thriller There’s Someone Inside Your House, produced alongside James Wan’s Atomic Monster, that will be released next year.
The film deal puts Levy back in business with Scott Stuber, Netflix’s head of film, who worked with a young Levy on one of his first features, Big Fat Liar, when he was an executive at Universal.
Said Stuber: “Shawn and I have known each other for over twenty years, and it’s been incredible to watch him create stories in a wide variety of genres — from comedy to science-fiction. Whether directing or producing, Shawn is a world class filmmaker with a deep desire to find new ways to entertain audiences. He’s put time, energy and love into building 21 Laps into the powerhouse company it is today, with a group of partners and colleagues that is as strong as any team in the industry.”
Added Brian Wright, who recently was promoted to overseeing all of Netflix’s overall deals: “Shawn and 21 Laps are terrific creative partners who consistently deliver best-in-class storytelling with bold ideas and timeless appeal.”
Levy is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham.
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