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Movies/TV

'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' other Roald Dahl works, coming to Netflix

| Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, 9:18 a.m.
Netflix will produce animated specials and series based on the works of acclaimed children’s author Roald Dahl, including “Matilda.”
Netflix will produce animated specials and series based on the works of acclaimed children’s author Roald Dahl, including “Matilda.”

Netflix said Tuesday that it will bring animated series and specials based on the work of acclaimed children’s author Roald Dahl to its library, including “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda” and “The BFG.”

The Los Gatos, Calif., streaming-video giant said it will “remain faithful to the quintessential spirit and tone of Dahl while also building out an imaginative story universe that expands far beyond the pages of the books themselves.”

Streaming companies are investing in adding original animated series as they aim to cater to families and children. Netflix is expected to spend $1.1 billion — or 11 percent of its original-content budget — on animation this year, according to estimates by venture capital firm Loup Ventures.

Production companies behind animated series have told the Los Angeles Times that one benefit of working with streaming services such as Netflix is the platform they provide to reach a global audience. Streaming companies also pay rates that are competitive with cable TV.

Mixed track record

Titles included in Netflix’s agreement with the Roald Dahl Story Co. also include “The Twits,” “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator,” “George’s Marvellous Medicine,” “Boy — Tales of Childhood,” “Going Solo,” “The Enormous Crocodile,” “The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me,” “Henry Sugar,” “Billy and the Minpins,” “The Magic Finger,” “Esio Trot,” “Dirty Beasts” and “Rhyme Stew.”

Terms of the deal were not announced.

Adaptations of Dahl’s books have had a mixed track record in Hollywood.

Some movies, such as Disney’s 2005 “Charlie and Chocolate Factory,” were hits, generating $475 million in worldwide ticket sales, while Stephen Spielberg’s 2016 version of “The BFG” was a flop. The Spielberg movie, which cost $140 million to make, grossed just $183 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo.

Creative ambition

Production on the first animated series for Netflix is to begin next year.

“We have great creative ambition to reimagine the journeys of so many treasured Dahl characters in fresh, contemporary ways with the highest quality animation and production values,” Melissa Cobb, vice president of kids and family content at Netflix, said in a statement.

The Roald Dahl Story Co. chose Netflix for a reason, Gideon Simeloff, the Dahl company’s strategy director, said in a statement: “There is no other place in the world that can deliver animated entertainment for the whole family at such quality and scale.”

Wendy Lee is a Los Angeles Times writer.

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