Hot off of releasing the bombastic finale to the penultimate season of their hit show Stranger Things, Matt and Ross Duffer unveiled their new production banner named after the terrifying mirror realm of the series. They created Upside Down Pictures to handle their growing list of new television and film projects at Netflix. The formation of the company is part of the duo’s overall deal with the streamer. Hilary Leavitt, who previously executive produced Ozark and Orphan Black through her own Hulu-based outfit Blazer, will run the company.
The general premise of Upside Down Pictures seems to be to capture much of the same heart and themes that make Stranger Things so beloved in more projects from the Duffers. They described the company’s purpose, saying they “aim to create the kind of stories that inspired the Duffers growing up — stories that take place at that beautiful crossroads where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, where big spectacle co-exists with intimate character work, where heart wins out over cynicism.”
As part of the formation of Upside Down Pictures, the Duffer Brothers also have numerous new projects in the works surrounding both their own properties and others. Among other things, they have a new live-action adaptation of Death Note, a series adaptation of Steven King‘s The Talisman, a stage play and live-action spinoff for Stranger Things, and a new series from creators Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews in the works.
The Duffers seem to have the utmost confidence in Leavitt to lead their banner forward. In a statement, they described bonding with her over their shared cinephilia and appreciating her as both a storyteller and producer, saying:
“It didn’t take long into our first meeting with Hilary, where we bonded over films like Jaws, Home Alone, and Speed, to know we had found a kindred spirit. Hilary’s passion for storytelling is perhaps matched only by her passion for the storytellers themselves, for whom she is fiercely protective. No wonder so many writers and directors are drawn to working with her. She is a rare talent indeed, and we feel extremely grateful to have her at our side as we build Upside Down Pictures.”
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos also released a statement both reaffirming their partnership with the Duffer Brothers and welcoming Leavitt into the fold. In working with Upside Down Pictures, the streamer is banking on the continued reliability of their homegrown Stranger Things IP in the face of decline at the streamer. Sarandos hit on the globe-conquering popularity of the series in his statement, something cemented by the series recently crossing an eye-popping one billion hours watched. Leavitt also expressed her excitement to work with the Duffers and Netflix in her own statement:
“I remember the first movie I saw in the theater, the first VHS tape I got for Christmas, the first international one-sheet I bid for on ebay because it was cooler than the domestic. And the first time I met Matt and Ross. All of these seminal moments have led to this ridiculously cool opportunity to build a company with the Duffer Brothers where we produce movies and television because we love movies and television. This love is at the core of Upside Down Pictures, where we’re able to collaborate with other artists on projects across the full spectrum of genre. We all love what we do and are excited to do more and more.”
In the near term, the Duffers have the fifth season of Stranger Things to worry about. Following the major cliffhanger, fans are eager to get back to Hawkins and witness the epic conclusion of the franchise, but so far, a release date is still in flux. Upon speaking with Collider‘s own Steve Weintraub, the brothers noted the complicated process behind getting a season of the massive show ready and how they’re trying to strike the right balance between quality and speed in deciding when to premiere the finale. Writing on the series begins in August after a short break from the whirlwind that was Season 4.
Stranger Things Season 4 is now streaming in its entirety on Netflix, but with Upside Down Productions hard at work, there’s sure to be much more from Hawkins and beyond as the Duffers’ signature series wraps up.