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The Stone Quarry Productions, a banner run by filmmaker Zack Snyder, producing partner Deborah Snyder and executive Wesley Coller, has signed a first-look film deal with Netflix.
The two-year deal anchors the filmmaking team to the streamer for which it made Army of the Dead, a zombie heist movie that is among the most watched movies released by the digital company. And it comes just weeks after Snyder set up his next movie, sci-fi adventure tale Rebel Moon. The latter falls under the new deal.
“My goal and hope are to bring as much quality content as I can and do it on a giant scale,” Zack Snyder tells The Hollywood Reporter, brimming with energy. “Big projects and big movies.”
The company previously had a deal with Warner Bros., the studio for whom Snyder guided, either as director or producer, most of the DC superhero offerings in the modern age of comic book movies (except the Christopher Nolan Batman movies). That deal ended in 2019 and the duo spent time considering with whom they wanted to tie a knot.
“For us, it was so important to find a partnership that was based on mutual respect,” Deborah Snyder says. “The creative process works best when everybody trusts each other and you can take chances and be creative. For us, we don’t usually play it safe. The content we make is a little bit edgier. And I think it’s important to have a good partnership and hear each other.”
She adds, “And Netflix has given us a lot of freedom. But they’ve also embraced the idea of trying new things and not necessarily waiting for a success before moving ahead.”
The making of Army of the Dead illustrated that sentiment. Even before the movie was released in May, Netflix and the Snyders were in production on a German-made prequel, titled Army of Thieves, and an anime spinoff. The prequel is on track for a fall release while the anime is set to debut in spring 2022.
“A consumer isn’t going to be waiting two years for more and that is exciting,” notes Deborah Snyder. “I give them a lot of credit for developing that partnership and trust.”
The deal keeps the Snyders working with Netflix film head Scott Stuber, who oversaw Snyder’s debut feature, Dawn of the Dead, in his role at the time as vice chairman of Universal. He was also instrumental in bringing Army to the streamer.
“I’ve known Zack and Deb for years and was fortunate to be part of Dawn of the Dead, his first film,” added Stuber in a statement. “I have since had the privilege of watching his career grow and see the evolving impact of his work. To see him return to his roots with Army of the Dead, which is now one of our most popular films, and build a world out of these characters with the upcoming Army of Thieves and anime series, is amazing to see. We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s still to come and create with Zack, Deb, Wes and everyone at Stone Quarry.”
Yes, Snyder will be spending more time in the Army-verse. On the docket is a sequel he is developing with the first movie’s co-writer, Shay Hatten, something he would tackle after Rebel Moon.
And Moon, which hopes to go into production in early 2022, is also envisioned as something that can launch sequels and series. Between those two original properties, Stone Quarry has plenty of material with which to work. (Moon is being produced with Eric Newman’s Grand Electric company.)
But that’s not all. Among the projects being developed is an action vehicle for Damon Caro — Snyder’s second unit director and stunt coordinator on numerous of movies — who would make his feature helming debut.
While the company has not abandoned working with established intellectual property, especially in the comics field, from which Snyder has had some of his biggest successes, the duo are feeling regenerated by original ideas.
“Zack is really good at world building,” says Deborah Snyder. “We’ve done that with the comics for so long that to do something original is the ultimate challenge and we’re up for that.”
The deal with Netflix is another feather in the Snyder cap for 2021. The year began with the March release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the director’s restored version of the much-maligned 2017 Justice League movie that was an amalgam of his and Joss Whedon’s work. The splashy opening generated plenty of buzz while the recent international release on DVD and Blu-ray saw the movie fly to the top of the sales charts in several countries, France and Brazil among them.
And Tuesday, when Netflix disclosed quarterly earnings, the company revealed that 75 million member accounts worldwide tuned in for Snyder’s Army in its first four weeks of release. (Netflix’s viewing metric counts two minutes of viewing time of a series or movie — long enough to show “the choice was intentional,” as the streamer puts it — as a view.) That proved to be more than the streamer’s initial projection of 72 million.
Snyder is repped by CAA, and Warren Dern of Sloan Offer. Stone Quarry is repped by CAA.
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