Netflix is refocusing its movie production away from megabudget projects that give carte blanche to filmmakers following troubling Q1 results.
Netflix has made the decision to move away from producing megabudget motion pictures. The streaming service began creating original content with the series House of Cards in 2013. Since then, the company has expanded its content library considerably, adding hundreds of fiction and reality series, as well as film projects of all sizes. Later on, Netflix stepped into the ring with blockbuster-style filmmaking with big stars and a budget level that could compete with theatrical productions. One of their first films at this level cost $90 million and was, at the time, the most expensive project they had ever financed: the 2017 Will Smith fantasy-crime film Bright.
Since then, Netflix has only increased its output of megabudget movie projects, many of which have drawn unprecedented viewership numbers for the streaming service. Some, like Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman (which cost $175 million) are more adult-oriented awards bait films, but most are star-studded action projects designed to appeal to a broad audience. This includes the Ryan Reynolds blockbusters 6 Underground and The Adam Project as well as Red Notice, which starred Reynolds opposite Gal Gadot and Dwayne Johnson, and was an acquisition with a $200 million price tag. Their upcoming film The Gray Man, which reunites Chris Evans with Avengers: Endgame filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo, has a similar sticker price.
Per THR, Netflix is refocusing its production of content toward smaller projects. Although they will still produce certain projects at a large budget level, they are making a decision to approach future projects with more discipline and caution rather than just throwing money at creators. An inside source has stated that “this tendency to do anything to attract talent and giving them carte blanche is going away.”
This decision is likely in response to the fact that Netflix has been hit with some startling financial news recently. In Q1 of 2022, the company recorded a loss of subscribers for the first time in a decade, dropping from 221.84 million subscribers to 221.64 million. How this will impact films that are already in the pipeline, including a pair of Red Notice sequels and upcoming Knives Out follow-ups, is currently unknown.
While Netflix may be tightening its belts somewhat as far as the budget for individual projects, it will be interesting to see how much this impacts the service. They still have many low and mid-budget projects keeping up their constant weekly output of international original content, so subscriber numbers may stay solid on the back of that material. However, if the lack of big-budget films causes their subscriber count to shrink even further, they may rethink their game plan yet again.
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About The Author
Monica has a BA in Journalism and English from the University of Massachusetts and an MS in Journalism and Communications from Quinnipiac University. Monica has worked as a journalist for over 20 years covering all things entertainment. She has covered everything from San Diego Comic-Con, The SAG Awards, Academy Awards, and more. Monica has been published in Variety, Swagger Magazine, Emmy Magazine, CNN, AP, Hidden Remote, and more. For the past 10 years, she has added PR and marketing to her list of talents as the president of Prime Entertainment Publicity, LLC. Monica is ready for anything and is proudly obsessed with pop culture.