In one of the most expensive deals it's ever made, Netflix is paying an extraordinary $647 million ($US450 million) for the exclusive rights to the sequels to 2019 movie Knives Out.
The enormous price tag will net the streaming giant Knives Out 2 and 3. Industry publication Variety reported the news earlier today.
At the time of the whodunit's release, there was speculation there could be follow-ups given its critical and commercial success. Daniel Craig's Poirot-like detective, Benoit Blanc, seemed primed for further cases and more stories.
It's expected Craig and writer and director Rian Johnson will return. Knives Out was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar.
It was made on a budget of US$40 million and went on to gross US$311 million at the global box office. The Netflix deal would mean the sequels could have a significantly higher budget.
Variety reported that a source at one of Netflix's competitors expected the deal would include considerable marketing spend.
The first film had a star-studded cast including Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lakeith Stanfield, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, Katherine Langford, Don Johnson and the late Christopher Plummer.
Netflix has found streaming success with mainstream blockbuster original films starring bankable A-listers. Chris Hemsworth-starrer Extraction was watched by 99 million accounts, according to Netflix's own data, which counts a watch as someone who played at least two minutes.
It's also had splashy movies starring the likes of Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Will Smith, Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler perform well.
The reported acquisition is an aggressive move by Netflix, which finds itself in an increasingly competitive streaming space after the recent launches or relaunches of services from Disney, Apple, Paramount, NBC Universal and Warner Bros in addition to more established brands such as Amazon Prime Video.
Netflix passed the 200 million subscriber mark at the end of 2020, accelerated in part by enforced lockdowns due to the Covid pandemic.
Disney has signed up more than 100 million account holders since launching in late-2019.