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Netflix's "Stranger Things" play to debut in London this year

Netflix's "Stranger Things" stage play will debut in London theaters later this year, offering up a prequel to the events of the hit sci-fi series, the company announced Wednesday. 

The play, titled "Stranger Things: The First Shadow," is Netflix's first ever live stage production. 

The stage show, set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, takes place in 1959, two decades before the events of the show, set between 1983 and 1986. Fan favorite characters, such as Hawkins police chief Jim Hopper, will feature prominently in the play alongside several new characters. 

"Stranger Things" has consistently ranked among Netflix's most-watched franchises during its four-season run, topping audience-measurement data firm Nielsen's chart of most streamed television series in 2022. Its fourth season, which debuted in 2022, has racked up more than 1 billion hours of viewing time. 

It's that massive following that Netflix is hoping to cash in on, something the streaming giant has succeeded at with hit shows like "Bridgerton" and "Squid Game," for which it offered popular pop-up experiences in cities across the U.S.  

Leaning into popular franchises is key to Netflix's strategy to draw in new users and boost its revenue as the media company, like many others in its field, contends with a flattening user base and mounting production costs. In its most recent shareholder letter, the company noted that subscribers had watched more returning seasons and sequels in 2022 than in years past.

The push for more revenue is also leading Netflix to limit password-sharing as it tries to cajole more casual viewers into becoming paying subscribers.

Last summer, "Stranger Things" creators Matt and Ross Duffer announced they would also produce a live-action Stranger Things spin-off series produced by their newly formed production company, Upside Down Pictures. 

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