Spielberg to make midnight horror series for Quibi
Ivan Radford | On 11, Jun 2019
Steven Spielberg is making a new horror series for streaming platform Quibi – one that you’ll only be able to watch at night.
The project was revealed this week at the Banff World Media Festival, where Quibi co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg gave the first details about the VOD service. Designed to be mobile-first, the platform will offer series and movies chopped into bite-sized chunks for streaming on the go – and in either portrait or landscape mode.
But the thinking behind the platform is going one step further, with Spielberg (a longtime friend of the former DreamWorks Animation CEO) hatching a plan to use the mobile-oriented technology to try something new. The director asked Quibi to make sure that the show would only be able to be viewed at night, so the platform designed technology with a clock that will only the series to be seen between sundown and sunup, based on the timings for whatever location the user is in.
The series has the provision title of Spielberg After Dark, notes THR.
“Steven Spielberg came in and said, ‘I have a super scary story…,’ but he said, ‘I only want people to watch it at midnight,'” Katzenberg recalled, noting that Spielberg had a creepy idea but “[wanted] it to be creepier”.
The series is one of two projects confirmed for Quibi so far, with Antoine Fuqua currently filming #Freerayshawn, a drama starring Stephan James and Laurence Fishburne. The series will span two and a half hours, but will be divided up into 15 chapters of 7 to 10 minutes each.
“We pay cost plus 20 per cent, up to $6 million an hour to make the show,” Katzenberg explained of the financial operations behind the site’s content. “It’s a lighthouse show for us. It’s $15 million. We pay the cost of the show, 100 perc ent, and some extra costs to get the stars in the show.”
Fuqua, meanwhile, will be allowed to edit a second version of the drama. While the short-cut version will be licensed to Quibi for seven years – after that point, the rights revert to Fuqua and producers Sony TV – Fuqua will be able to sell the movie-length version two years after its Quibi premiere. That could then be to other streaming platforms, such as Netflix or Apple.
“The value of that is going to be pretty extreme, and I know that because people have already approached those creating content for us,” Katzenberg added.