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Monday, June 27, 2022

Bigger, Lesser and Better – The Hollywood Reporter

Bigger, better, less. this diet is inside Netflix Including film executives headed by division chief Scott StuberThe giant transformation of digital streaming is grappling to work under course and facing new realities, such as lagging subscriber growth (it dropped 200,000 subs in its latest quarter) and increasing competition (Disney’s Disney+, The bundle of Hulu and ESPN+ now has 205 million subscribers (combined, just behind Netflix’s 221 million global subscriptions).

Hollywood Reporter spoke to a range of sources, from executives to producers to agents affiliated with the company, to paint a picture of a streaming giant trying to get its mojo back after a shocking earnings disclosure on April 19 (Netflix has lost 44 percent of its stock’s value since that day). “Moreball is stuck at the stock level,” says one executive semi-jokingly. Another executive described the mood within Netflix as “distracting” seeing the changes right now.

It’s easy to see why. In response to Wall Street, the company has taken cost-cutting measures, such as laying off more than 150 employees, or 2 percent of its workforce. TVs and other parts of the company have taken their hits, but one focus remains the features division. A good portion of the cuts have wiped out the family live action film division, and the original independent features division, which made movies in the less than $30 million budget range, has also cleared its ranks.

As it moves forward, Netflix wants to focus on making bigger movies, making better movies, and releasing fewer than ever before. “A few years ago, we were struggling to monetize the market on small art films,” said Netflix co-head Ted Sarandos told analysts on the company’s April earnings call. “Today, we’re releasing some of the most popular and most-watched movies in the world. Over the past few months, things like don’t look up And red notice And Adam Project, as his example. But what this “bigger, better, less” directive means is not clear to people inside and outside the company.

Says an insider, “Short films are not the go-tos, but they can become more exclusive and cater to a passionate audience. Another insider agreed, saying that production would be reduced, reducing the need for so many executions. “They were very much in touch with the authorities,” says this insider. Also, big doesn’t mean movies worth more than $150 million. Expect to see a more subtle change — for example, instead of making two movies for $10 million, the company will make one for $20 million. “The goal would be to make the best version of something, rather than cheapen it for quantity,” says an insider. And Dreamer remains in the takeover game, as evidenced by a recent deal worth more than $50 million. emily blante Thriller pain hustler,

On Netflix’s earnings call, Sarandos pointed to “big event movies” like gray man And knife out 2 As a way to drive sub development. gray manstarring Ryan Gosling And Chris Evans In a film with a budget of over $200 million, directed by avengers: endgame pair Anthony And Joe RousseauIt will hit select theaters on July 15 before bowing out in service on July 22. meanwhile, knife out 2 – The next chapter of the whodunit franchise from the director ryan johnson and star Daniel Craig, for which Netflix struck a $469 million deal in March 2021 — is set to bow in the fourth quarter of this year. “The upcoming slate in ’22, we believe, is better and more impressive than it was in ’21,” Sarandos told analysts on the April call.

Animation is also under scrutiny, with a disciplined ax taken on projects that were on the bubble and also reducing release frequency, although “a new film every week” is still the target, whether it’s live action. Yes, animation.

These steps are a far cry from a few years ago, when movies costing $100 million or more than $150 million were a rarity. This was also the time when Netflix was often cited in the media as the savior of mid-budget film and such dramatic staples as romantic comedies and thrillers. can always be mine, kissing booth And To all the boys I’ve loved before became hits, ousted social media stars from their actors and even launched mini-franchises.

The company is still not giving any specific direction. “Talks are on with producers and directors about sizes and genres in the coming weeks,” says a producer, who has meetings on the books and is eagerly waiting for the insights. But it’s a precarious moment for the streaming giant, which could still see more cuts and possible executive exits, leaving some producers and agents out. “Am I comfortable bringing them the package now? No, I’m not,” says a fellow. (Netflix co-head reed hastings Didn’t give the film chief Stuber or the TV leader at all Bela Bajaria increase in confidence when Maureen Dowdyone in new York Times profile Published on 28 May, top executives asked about the prospect of staying in office and they replied: “Um, the way we’re organized, nobody gets to make that assumption.”)

One thing many people agree on is the era of expensive vanity projects on Netflix, whether animation or live action (like Martin Scorsese$175 million Irishman) has been exhausted. “This tendency to do anything to attract talent and give them carte blanche is taking off,” says one person. As always, there will be exceptions—this is Hollywood, after all—but in short, this new era is marked by one idea: discipline.

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Source: Nielsen Streaming Rankings, August 2020-April 2022; THR Research

This story first appeared in the June 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Please click here to subscribe.

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