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Netflix Secures $8.8 Million Victory in Dispute Over Upcoming TV Show

In a high-profile dispute between Netflix and Hollywood director Carl Erik Rinsch over a science-fiction series that never aired, an arbitrator ruled in favor of Netflix, awarding the company nearly $9 million in damages. Mr. Rinsch had sold Netflix the television show, “Conquest,” during the streaming boom in 2018, but failed to deliver any episodes. Netflix had to write off the $55 million it had invested in the project, which highlighted the era of extravagant spending that Hollywood studios are moving away from to focus on profitability over subscriber growth.

Netflix canceled the development of “Conquest” in early 2021 due to Mr. Rinsch’s erratic behavior. He made claims to Netflix executives about discovering Covid-19’s transmission mechanism and predicting natural disasters like earthquakes and lightning strikes. Following Netflix’s decision to cease funding the show, Mr. Rinsch spent the remaining production funds on a lavish lifestyle, staying in luxury hotels in California and Spain, and purchasing expensive cars and furniture. Despite his assertion that the purchases were for the show’s production, arbitrator Rita Miller ruled that none of the acquisitions were essential for the project.

Mr. Rinsch initiated arbitration, alleging that Netflix breached their contract and owed him at least $14 million. However, Ms. Miller found Mr. Rinsch at fault, awarding Netflix $8.78 million, equivalent to the production funds she deemed squandered by the director. Additionally, she granted Netflix control over the “Conquest” footage that Mr. Rinsch had retained until that point. Mr. Rinsch did not respond to requests for comment.

Trailer for “Conquest”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXXXXXXXXX