Streaming Entertainment News

Netflix Secures $8.8 Million Victory in Battle Over Planned Television Series

In a high-profile dispute between Netflix and Hollywood director Carl Erik Rinsch, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the streaming giant, awarding them nearly $9 million in damages over a science-fiction series that never aired. The television show, “Conquest,” was sold to Netflix by Mr. Rinsch during the peak of the streaming boom in 2018, but he failed to deliver any episodes. This led Netflix to write off the $55 million it had invested in the project, highlighting a period of extravagant spending in Hollywood that studios are now moving away from to prioritize profitability over subscriber growth.

Netflix decided to cancel the development of “Conquest” in early 2021 due to Mr. Rinsch’s erratic behavior. He claimed to Netflix executives that he had uncovered the secret transmission mechanism of Covid-19 and boasted to his wife, a producer on the show, about his ability to predict earthquakes and lightning strikes.

Following Netflix’s decision to halt funding for “Conquest,” Mr. Rinsch reportedly went on a lavish spending spree with the remaining production funds. He indulged in stays at luxurious hotels in California and Spain, purchased a fleet of high-end cars and expensive furniture under the guise of them being props for the show. However, arbitrator Rita Miller, a former Los Angeles Superior Court judge, determined that none of these expenditures were essential for the production of the series.

Mr. Rinsch initiated arbitration proceedings, claiming that Netflix had breached their contract and owed him at least $14 million. Despite his allegations, Ms. Miller ruled in favor of Netflix, attributing the $8.78 million awarded to the streaming service to the amount of production money she deemed squandered by Mr. Rinsch. She also granted Netflix control over the “Conquest” footage, which had been in the director’s possession until then.

Requests for comments from Mr. Rinsch regarding the ruling went unanswered.