Netflix lost $55 million on a sci-fi show that never aired

The director failed to deliver even one episode of the series, and reportedly gambled Netflix's funding on Cryptocurrencies

Netflix is known for investing heavily in original content, and that gamble has normally gone in its favour.

However, with one such series, things didn’t go as planned.

As shared by The New York Times, Netflix got into an agreement with Carl Rinsch, the director of the 2013 Keanu Reeves film 47 Ronin, for an original sci-fi series called Conquest. The show, which had a budget of $55 million USD (roughly $75 million CAD), was supposed to be a futuristic thriller about artificial humans, but it never saw the light of day due to production troubles and bizarre behaviour from Rinsch.

Streaming services were reportedly fighting over the rights of the project. Amazon had initially approached Rinsch for the project, but Netflix beat out Amazon with an offer of $61.2 million USD (roughly $83.8 million CAD) to be paid in several installments for the rights to the show and gave Rinsch final cut.

However, before Netflix signed the deal, Rinsch was already in legal trouble with another production company for Conquest. Netflix paid the production company and other early investors $14 million USD (roughly $19 million CAD) as part of a legal settlement. The problems continued when Netflix started the production of Conquest, which involved filming in multiple locations around the world. Rinsch reportedly exhibited erratic and paranoid behaviour, such as making unfounded claims about COVID-19 and its origins, predicting lightning strikes, and accusing his wife of trying to kill him.

Netflix also received complaints regarding Rinsch “mistreating the team” with “shouts,” “cursing,” and “excessive irritation,” according to a letter the union sent Netflix’s local production partner.

Finally, after several missed deadlines, in March 2021, Netflix informed Rinsch by email that it had decided to stop funding Conquest.

With the funding he received, Rinsch gambled on cryptocurrencies and invested in the stock market, and used the profits to buy luxury cars and other items. He also sued Netflix for $14 million, claiming that the company breached their agreement and that a final payment installment was due. Netflix says that it doesn’t owe Rinsch any more money and has called his demands a “shakedown.”

The legal battle is still ongoing, and the fate of Conquest remains uncertain.

Source: The New York Times

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