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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, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the streaming giant, awarding Netflix nearly $9 million in damages over a science-fiction series that never aired. Rinsch had sold Netflix the television show, “Conquest,” during the peak of the streaming boom in 2018, but failed to deliver any episodes. This led Netflix to write off the $55 million it had invested in the project, underscoring a shift in the industry’s focus from extravagant spending to profit growth.

Netflix ultimately canceled the development of “Conquest” in early 2021 due to Rinsch’s erratic behavior. His claims of uncovering Covid-19’s transmission mechanism and predicting natural disasters raised concerns among Netflix executives, prompting the decision to halt funding for the show.

Following Netflix’s decision, Rinsch indulged in a lavish spending spree using the remaining production funds from “Conquest.” He resided in luxury hotels in California and Spain, purchased a fleet of high-end cars and furniture, justifying the expenses as props for the show. However, arbitrator Rita Miller, a former Los Angeles Superior Court judge, determined that none of these acquisitions were essential for production, as outlined in her ruling.

Rinsch initiated arbitration proceedings, alleging that Netflix breached their contract and owed him a minimum of $14 million. Contrary to his claims, Miller ruled in favor of Netflix, attributing the $8.78 million awarded to the amount of production funds Rinsch had squandered. Additionally, she granted Netflix control over the “Conquest” footage, which Rinsch had retained until the ruling.

Despite numerous attempts, Rinsch did not provide a comment on the arbitration outcome. The resolution of this case serves as a cautionary tale in an industry striving to balance creative endeavors with financial responsibility.

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