Why Netflix paid over $450m for two Knives Out sequels

Daniel Craig in Knives Out
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Netflix has paid what could amount to a record fee for Knives Out 2 and 3. Rian Johnson is set to helm the whodunnit sequels and Benoit Blanc himself, Daniel Craig, is returning. But there’s a donut-shaped hole in the middle of the streaming sale: why did Netflix pay so much? Thanks to a new report, that hole has now been filled.

The Hollywood Reporter spoke to an unnamed streaming executive who, while admitting the streamer overpaid, said: "Netflix is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers."

How so? For Netflix, "It takes a proven theatrical commodity off the board and puts it in their pocket. And it’s another way they re-educate audiences to think of streaming and their company above a studio."

In other words, Netflix has snapped up a ready-made franchise without putting in the legwork. However, this won't be run like your ordinary franchise fare, with Netflix distancing itself from the corporate machinery that can so often chew up and spit out any promising sequels.

One way the streamer is set to do that with Knives Out is by handing over complete creative control to Rian Johnson. The Last Jedi director doesn’t have to act on any notes from the streaming service, while Knives Out 2 – which is set to start filming in Greece in the coming months – will have a budget that at least matches the $40m given to the original movie.

That’s one mystery solved. Benoit Blanc still has to solve at least two more – exclusively on Netflix in the near future. In the meantime, fill out your watchlists with the best Netflix shows and the best Netflix movies.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.