Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), which is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to compete with premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime in the realm of original series, is apparently experiencing the downside of the creative process. Oscar-nominated director David Fincher, who is executive producing Netflix’s upcoming original House of Cards, is reportedly battling with production company Media Rights Capital over the show’s budget.
The Hollywood Reporter said Wednesday that Fincher — who is set to direct the first two of the show’s 26 episodes — wants MRC to come up on the political drama’s $100 million budget and has threatened to walk if those demands aren’t met.
A Netflix spokesman had no comment regarding the reported budget dispute. An MRC representative told us the show’s production is proceeding as planned, with Fincher on set in Baltimore working with the writers.
Produced and starring Kevin Spacey and based on a 1990 British miniseries, House of Cards is set to debut on Netflix Later this year.
The report capped a busy news day for Netflix:
— On its blog Wednesday, the company revealed that its subscription service will be rolled into the latest version of Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) TV, with the Netflix bill integrated into users’ iTunes accounts. It’s Netflix’s first content deal for which it won’t be handling its own billing.
— As we reported last week, company CEO Reed Hastings said that, on a not so immediate timeline, he expects Netflix to be bundled into the programming package of one or more of the big cable, satellite and telco TV service providers. That may be more immediate than Hastings let on, however. Reuters reported Wednesday that, in recent weeks, Netflix has already engaged in discussions with leading multi-system operators about just such an arrangement.
— Perhaps marking a case of irrational exuberance, the Associated Press reported that Netflix stock was up nearly 5 percent in pre-market trading Wednesday, bolstered by the Reuters (NYSE: TRI) report. However, the stock ended trading up only about 1.8 percent to $105.19 a share.