A glow, according to kids these days (shakes fist at clouds), is a transformation for the better. With this understanding, there is perhaps no better shine in the entertainment industry over the past decade than Netflix’s Original Movies division. While the multibillion-dollar company that continues to cancel endearingly deserving shows doesn’t need any unnecessary additional praise, Netflix’s rise in the film space is testament to the changing dynamics of the industry as a whole. Its swelling annual release slate often varies wildly in quality with a deluge of forgettable titles. But its great production power is simply astonishing.
Netflix’s push into the original films began with a partnership with Adam Sandler and his production banner Happy Madison in 2014. A year later, on the heels of Beasts of no nation, Sandler delivered his first feature film for the streamer, The ridiculous 6, to mark Netflix’s first two original narrative films. Despite the consistently poor reception of the beloved comedy star’s new films over the past six years, Netflix has renewed its production partnership with Sandler on two occasions. As it turns out, Rotten Tomatoes’ poor scores have little bearing on popularity, as Sandler’s Netflix production continues to attract significant viewership numbers for the company.
In 2016, Netflix went from two original movies the year before to 17. As the streamer’s annual content budget continued to skyrocket like Violet Beauregarde, and 85% of that money was allocated to original movies and series, Netflix’s annual film production has also increased. . In 2017, the streamer released 40 original feature films, followed by 68 in 2018, including the hit Sandra Bullock. Bird box, what Netflix is claiming to be its second most-watched movie of all time. (Personally, the movie would have been better if I was blindfolded myself.)
In December of the same year, the director of the original Netflix film, Scott Stuber, teased an impending “movie attack” with 90 films a year ranging from $ 20 million to $ 200 million blockbusters. This ambitious venture spanned more than 70 original films in 2019 and 124 films last year. For comparison, the 10 top-grossing studios – which include Walt Disney, Warner Bros. Sony, Universal, Paramount, and other big companies – released 179 theatrical movies combined in 2019. This juxtaposition convinces me that the Netflix headquarters is simply fueled by millions of radioactive hamsters running endlessly on their spinning wheels.
This year, Netflix will release a minimum of 70 original films.
There’s no denying that these annual mailing lists are filled with substandard products that users will pass without a second glance. But the sheer volume that Netflix is capable of producing is staggering, especially since Hollywood is literally running out of production space, however inconsistent in quality. Yet Netflix isn’t just the most prolific film studio in the industry, it’s also the most versatile because it offers something for everyone. These annual cinematic avalanches run the gamut of drama, comedy, sci-fi, superhero, fantasy, romantic comedy, teenage, action and adventure, and more. The streamer is widely credited with relaunching multiple genres down the middle budget path, has proven to be a serious force in developing emerging talent, and has even managed to build their own in-house movie franchises to emulate the big studio companies. . Disney is known as the hit studio focused on suites, Universal is proud to recognize the undervalued assets. Netflix is the one-stop Walmart destination that combines all of these to varying degrees.
This is by no means a comparison of apples to apples given the very different business models and delivery mechanisms, but it is nonetheless impressive that Netflix generates more annual revenue than all the other big movie studios. From a business perspective, Netflix hit its star-studded goals in just a few short years.
And it’s not like every original movie that Netflix delivers is a mishmash of background noise. The streamer has won eight Oscars out of 54 nominations since 2014, including three nominees for Best Picture in the past two years alone. That number will likely increase this year depending on what the Academy thinks about award hopes such as The Chicago 7 trial, Da 5 bloods, Mank and Ma Rainey’s black background. The streamer has released or will release films directed by David Fincher, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Angelina Jolie, Spike Lee, Alfonso Cuarón, Dee Rees, Noah Baumbach, Adam McKay, Ava DuVernay, Bradley Cooper and more.
Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot join forces for streamer’s original, big-budget action adventure Red Notice this year and he will be joined by Zack Snyder’s action zombie drama Army of the dead. Halle Berry will make her much-anticipated directorial debut in 2021 and Vanessa Kirby is set to be a favorite for an Oscar nomination thanks to Pieces of a woman. It’s an eclectic roster of top-tier titles that’s a far cry from the dumpster fire that some accuse of being the company’s film division.
It is true that the average Netflix user will naturally hesitate to sift through Netflix’s growing collection of originals after the fact in order to unearth the films of interest. But the real challenge was that Netflix was just reaching a point where it could compete with the big movie studios. That the streamer has managed to do it in terms of volume and variety with increasing levels of quality every year in such a short time is nothing short of a Hollywood miracle. The real lesson from all of this is obvious: Adam Sandler is clearly a genius.