Hollywood Meets Crypto: Director Uses Netflix Funds for Risky Dogecoin Bet
Carl Erik Rinsch, the director of “47 Ronin,” allegedly used nearly $60 million – that Netflix had given him for a sci-fi series – to invest in the crypto and stock markets.
According to The New York Times, Netflix gave the director more than $55 million, along with a near-total budgetary and creative freedom.
It never got a single finished episode back.
Instead, Rinsch reportedly used a large portion of the budget to invest in stocks and cryptocurrencies.
He then went on to spend millions on cars, furniture, and designer clothing.
The report cited cast, crew members, emails, and court filings in a divorce case brought by Rinsch’s wife.
Netflix battled other streaming giants for Rinsch’s new show called Organic Intelligent, which Netflix renamed to Conquest.
The company agreed to pay $61.2 million in several installments for the rights to the series.
But Netflix ignored several red flags, the report said. A major one is that Rinsch was still fighting 30West and other early investors, which subsequently received $14 million of the $61 million from Netflix under a legal settlement.
In March 2020, Rinsch asked Netflix for more money. By that point, they had already spent $44.3 million and were reluctant to give more as Rinsch had missed several production milestones.
Still, to save the production, Netflix sent Rinsch’s production company $11 million. This brought the total to more than $55 million.
However, Rinsch’s behavior “grew erratic,” the NYT said. He claimed he had discovered Covid-19’s secret transmission mechanism and was able to predict lightning strikes and volcano eruptions.
‘God Bless Crypto’
Rinsch went on to spend the project funds on investments, many of which failed.
This included the S&P 500 index and shares of the biotech firm Gilead Sciences. He lost $5.9 million in weeks.
In March 2021, Netflix stopped funding Conquest. Rinsch, however, started using what remained of the $11 million Netflix had sent to bet on crypto.
This one paid off, said the NYT, stating that,
“When he liquidated his Dogecoin positions in May 2021, he had a balance of nearly $27 million.”
Rinsch wrote in an online chat with a Kraken representative: “Thank you and god bless crypto.”
He then bought five Rolls-Royces, a Ferrari, a Vacheron Constantin watch, high-end furniture, and designer clothing, totaling $8.7 million.
The legal team of Rinsch’s wife, Gabriela Rosés Bentancor, suggested in the divorce proceedings that the buying spree was designed to hide Rinsch’s crypto winnings.
Rinsch and Netflix are currently locked in a confidential arbitration proceeding, with a ruling expected soon.
Rinsch claims that Netflix breached their contract and owes him $14 million in damages.
He first argued that the cars and furniture were props for Conquest, bought with Netflix’s production money. But then, in his arbitration case, he said that the money spent was contractually his.
On its part, Netflix said any payments were contingent on the director hitting production milestones – which he had failed to do.
Thomas Cherian, a Netflix spokesman, told the NYT the company had provided substantial funding, but “after a lot of time and effort, it became clear that Mr. Rinsch was never going to complete the project he agreed to make, and so we wrote the project off.”
Rinsch declined to comment, the report said.