“Stranger Things” fans who are currently nursing the “been there, binged that” season three blues have a reason to celebrate.
Netflix announced that its Emmy Award-winning sci-fi series is returning for season four. The streaming service also confirmed that “Stranger Things” creators and showrunners the Duffer Brothers have signed a new multi-year film and TV series deal.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the duo clinched a nine-figure contract.
Investing in the Future
By inking a “Stranger Things” renewal and securing the Duffer Brothers’ talents, Netflix is making a wise investment in the future.
“Stranger Things” is the platform’s most popular original series. On July 8, the show celebrated its record-breaking season three success in a social media post. More than 40.7 million household accounts watched the sci-fi thriller in the four days following its July 4 premiere. At the time of the post (July 8), over 18 million people had already binged the entire season.
.@Stranger_Things 3 is breaking Netflix records!
40.7 million household accounts have been watching the show since its July 4 global launch — more than any other film or series in its first four days. And 18.2 million have already finished the entire season.
— Netflix US (@netflix) July 8, 2019
As the streaming competition heats up with the impending launches of Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and more, Netflix must bank on a sure thing like “Stranger Things” to secure its survival. The company also needs to leverage the Duffers’ creative minds to produce more binge-worthy original content.
“The Duffer Brothers have captivated viewers around the world with ‘Stranger Things,’ and we’re thrilled to expand our relationship with them to bring their vivid imaginations to other film and series projects our members will love,” said Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “We can’t wait to see what the Duffer Brothers have in store when they step outside the world of The Upside Down.”
Furthermore, the cast is understandably cashing in on the show’s success. THR reported that many members of the ensemble renegotiated their contracts and earned huge pay raises ahead of the third season.
In some cases, cast members earned 12 times their previous salary. Many of the young actors are making around $250,000 per episode, with adult actors pulling in about $350,000 for each installment.
‘We’re Not in Hawkins Anymore’
Details for season four of “Stranger Things” are slim. Netflix posted a short teaser clip on YouTube in conjunction with the series renewal announcement. The show might likely move outside of Hawkins, Indiana in its next installment. The phrase “We’re not in Hawkins anymore” appears at the end of the teaser clip and in a Twitter post caption.
we're not in hawkins anymore pic.twitter.com/Y4hayuPKvu
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) September 30, 2019
Previous seasons jumped forward time upon the show’s return. The critically acclaimed first season was set in November 1983. Season two takes place in October 1984 and the third season unfolds in July 1985. In keeping with that pattern, season four could easily take place in a future year. However, exactly where the story will pick up is still a mystery.
Beyond ‘Stranger Things’
Netflix is also looking beyond “Stranger Things” and the Upside Down to captivate (and retain) its subscriber base.
The company spent around $1 billion to recruit showrunner heavyweights. For example, Ryan Murphy (“Glee”) and Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy”) both signed multi-year contracts to develop new content. Rhimes reportedly snagged a $150 million deal, while Murphy joined the platform for around $300 million.
As these TV giants dream up new material, Netflix subscribers are also waiting for the return of fan-favorite series like “The Crown,” “Ozark,” and “Dead to Me.”
All factors combined, Netflix is aiming to maintain a strong foothold in the streaming world it helped create. The fourth season of its best-performing original content will certainly help that ambition.