Netflix Drops Epix, Viewers Won’t Get ‘Hunger Games,’ Other Films

Streaming service will focus on original content and will not renew pact with cable network that expires in September, CEO Ted Sarandos says

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Netflix said Sunday that it won’t renew its contract with cable network Epix, preferring to develop its own original movies.

As a result, customers won’t be able to see such movies as “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” or “World War Z” on Netflix after the contract ends at the end of September, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos said in a blog post Sunday.

“While many of these movies are popular, they are also widely available on cable and other subscription platforms at the same time as they are on Netflix and subject to the same drawn-out licensing periods,” wrote Sarandos. “Through our original films and some innovative licensing arrangements with the movie studios, we are aiming to build a better movie experience for you.”

Sarandos said Netflix wants to create its own content, which he admitted may be down the road.

“It will take us time to build a robust slate of original movies, but we’re hard at work on it with such great stars and directors as Brad Pitt, Ricky Gervais, Judd Apatow, Angelina Jolie, Sofia Coppola and Adam Sandler,” he wrote.

Netflix has “Minions,” “Hotel Transylvania 2” and “Home” on the way via arrangements with Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation  and DreamWorks Animation, Sarandos pointed out. And starting next year, it will be the exclusive U.S.  pay TV home of the latest theatrical movies from Disney, including Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel movies, he said.

Epix is a joint venture of MGM, Lions Gate Entertainment and Viacom’s Paramount. Netflix signed on with the pay TV network five years ago, but it hasn’t had exclusive streaming rights for those studios’ films since 2012, when Amazon signed its own Epix deal.