Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was asked by an analyst on today’s Q4 earnings call if “the recent management departure” would impact the streamer’s future plans for making original feature films.
“Recent management departure” meaning Film Boss Scott Stuber (who wasn’t specifically name-checked on the call), who is expected to leave in March to start his own media company.
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The analyst pointed out that Netflix original movies, even though they outperform licensed titles in viewers and hours, don’t have the same kind of cultural impact that the streamer’s series do.
“Our original movies are attracting some of the biggest audiences in the world,” heralded Sarandos, giving a shoutout to Sam Esmail’s thriller feature, Leave the World Behind, starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke and Myha’la.
“Look at the crazy memes about the creepy deers when that movie came out, or Society of the Snow which was nominated for two Oscars. Or even look back last year at Jennifer Lopez’s great movie, The Mother. By some accounts, it was the most watched movie in the world last year.”
“Fans don’t really care about budgets and windows, they just want a movie that they love. They want a movie to make them cry, or make them laugh, or give them something great to talk about over dinner,” Sarandos added.
“Our original films outperform those licensed films, and they do uniquely distinguish us from the competition,” the exec asserted, “Just this morning, our original films got 18 Oscar nominations across ten different films; we do not plan to change our strategy or the mix.”
“It’s always going to be that kind of blend of first window, second window, and deep catalog, we think that formula works best to entertain the world,” added Sarandos. –
Stuber, a Universal vet, mushroomed the Netflix feature pipeline with big movies such as the Dwayne Johnson-Gal Gadot-Ryan Reynolds movie, Red Notice, as well as the Russo Brothers’ The Gray Man starring Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, as well as snapping up the Knives Out franchise for $400M among several highlights. Stuber’s heart was always in motion picture films, this despite Netflix dipping its toe into cinemas with the purchase of the Paris in NYC and the American Cinematheque in Hollywood.
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