April 18, 2024

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Bigger, Less, and Better - The Hollywood Reporter

Bigger, Less, and Better – The Hollywood Reporter

Bigger, better, less. This is what’s inside Netflix That feature film directors, led by the department head scott stuberstruggling to function as the digital streaming giant faces a changing tack and faces new realities, such as lagging subscriber growth (it lost 200,000 subscribers in its last quarter) and heightened competition (Disney’s bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ now has a combined 205 million subscribers, behind Netflix of There are 221 million subscribers worldwide.

The Hollywood Reporter I spoke to multiple sources, ranging from executives to producers to agents with ties to the company, to paint a picture of the streaming giant trying to win back mojo after the shocking earnings reveal on April 19 (Netflix has lost 44 percent of its stock since that day). “Sentiment is stuck at the stock level,” says one executive semi-jokingly. Another executive now describes the mood within Netflix as “distracting” due to the changes.

It’s easy to see why. In response to Wall Street, the company has taken cost-cutting measures such as firing more than 150 employees, or 2 percent of its workforce. Television and other parts of the company have had their hits, but the obvious focus is the features department. Much of the cuts have spent the family’s live-action film division, and the original indie features division, which made films in the sub-$30 million budget range, has also seen its ranks clean up.

As it moves forward, Netflix wants to focus on making bigger movies, making better ones, and releasing fewer than it once did at a voracious pace. “Just a few years ago, we were struggling to monetize the market on small art films,” Ted Sarandos to analysts on the company’s April earnings call. “Today, we release some of the most popular and most watched movies in the world. Just over the past few months, things like do not search And the red notice And the Adam’s Projectas examples.” But what this “bigger, better, and less” directive means is not clear to those inside and outside the company.

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“The little films are not going away,” says an insider, but they may become more specialized and cater to an eager audience. Another insider agrees, saying output will be reduced, reducing the need for a lot of executives. “They were full of CEOs,” says this insider. Also, bigger size doesn’t necessarily mean more $150 million in movies. Expect a more subtle change – instead of making two films for $10 million, for example, the company will make one for $20 million. “The goal will be to make the best version of something rather than cheap for the sake of quantity,” says an insider. And the streaming device is still in the acquisition game, as evidenced by the recent $50 million deal for Emily Blunt excitement pain joggers.

In the Netflix earnings call, Sarandos referred to “big event movies” as gray man And the knives out 2 as a means to drive sub-growth. gray manchampionship Ryan Gosling And the Chris Evans Into a budgeted $200 million movie directed by Avengers: Endgame the couple Anthony And the Joe Russowill arrive in select theaters on July 15 before kneeling for service on July 22. knives 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 — set to bend in the last quarter of this year. “We are confident that the upcoming slate in ’22 is better and more impactful than it was in ’21,” Sarandos noted to analysts in the April call.

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Animation is also under scrutiny, taking a disciplined ax for projects that have been in the bubble and also reducing the frequency of releases, although “a new movie every week” is still the goal, whether it’s live action or animation.

These moves are a far cry from the past few years, when films that cost more than $100 million or $150 million were a rarity. It was also a time when Netflix was frequently cited in the media as the savior of the mid-budget film, and of such once-theatrical films as romantic comedies and thrillers. always be maybeAnd the kissing booth And the To all the boys I’ve loved before They’ve been a huge hit, making social media stars out of their cast and even launching small franchises.

The company doesn’t offer much specific direction at the moment either. “Conversations will be taking place with producers and directors in the coming weeks about volume and genres,” says one producer who has held a meeting around the books and is eagerly awaiting ideas. But this is an uncertain moment for the streaming giant, which could see further cuts and a possible executive departure, leaving some producers and agents on guard. “Am I comfortable bringing a package to them now? No, I’m not,” says one partner. (Co-chair of Netflix Red Hastings The cinema chief didn’t give the stooper or the TV captain exactly Bella Bagaria Boost confidence when Maureen Doddin The New York Times Profile personly Posted on May 28, he was asked about the possibility of CEOs staying in place, and he replied, “Hm, the way we’re organized, nobody can make that assumption.”)

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Many would agree that the era of Netflix’s expensive vanity projects, whether it’s animation or live action (like Martin Scorsese175 million dollars Irish) , probably. “This tendency to do anything to attract talent and give them carte blanche is eroding,” says one person. As always, there will be exceptions – this is Hollywood, after all – but at its core, this new age appears to be marked by one idea: discipline.

Source: Nielsen Streaming Ratings, August 2020 – April 2022; Search THR

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