Netflix has bought itself the ultimate golden ticket.
The streamer revealed on Wednesday that it has acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company, bringing to its credit the vast catalog of Roald Dahl, one of the most beloved – and adapted – children’s authors of all time, whose books include Charlie and the chocolate factory, Matilda, The BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox and much more.
Financial details were not disclosed. But the deal – which had been widely speculated – is meant to mark one of Netflix’s biggest buys to date.
Netflix’s previous deal with the Roald Dahl Story Company — signed in 2018 and giving it the animation rights to 16 of Dahl’s titles — would have been in nine-figure territory, sources said at the time. As part of this arrangement, Taika Waititi and Oscar nominee Phil Johnston are currently working on a series based on the world of Charlie and the chocolate factory, while Sony and Working Title are preparing an adaptation of Mathilde the musical.
Announcing the acquisition, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos and Luke Kelly, managing director of the Roald Dahl Story Company, said they now envision the creation of a “unique universe through the films of animation and live-action and television, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theater, consumer products and more.
And they quoted one of Dahl’s famous stories. “There is a moment in James and the giant peach when the Ladybug says, ‘We are now about to visit the most wonderful places and see the most wonderful things,’” they said. “The centipede responds, ‘We don’t know what we’ll see!’ Netflix and The Roald Dahl Story Company share a deep love of storytelling and a growing global fanbase. Together, we have an amazing opportunity to write many new chapters in these beloved stories, delighting children and adults everywhere for generations to come.
Dahl’s books have been translated into 63 languages and sold over 300 million copies worldwide, with a new book sold every 2.6 seconds.
The Welsh author is a longtime favorite in Hollywood, film adaptations of his works include Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory (1971), Danny, the world champion (1989), The BFG (1989), The witches (1990), James and the giant peach (1996), Matilda (1996), Charlie and the chocolate factory (2005), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Esio Trot by Roald Dahl (2015), The BFG (2016), revolting nursery rhymes (2016) Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory (2017), The witches (2020) and the upcoming prequel story Wonka (2023).