Despite Monday’s news that Netflix’s film chairman Scott Stuber will be departing in March to start his own entertainment company, it was business as usual during Netflix’s Q4 earnings call.
The streamer’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos avoided discussion of Stuber’s exit when asked about how Netflix would continue to balance between their Netflix original film slate versus licensed content.
“Our original movies are attracting some of the biggest audiences in the world,” Sarandos said. As mentioned in the studio’s earnings report, according to Nielsen, Netflix had the No. 1 original film 41 out of 52 weeks in 2023, which was an increase on 2022 when they took the top slot 25 out of 52 weeks. Sarandos made a point of emphasizing the numerous memes crafted around films like “Leave the World Behind” to emphasize their films’ cultural dominance, as well as the 18 Oscar nominations they received on Tuesday across 10 different films.
“Fans really don’t care much about budgets or [release] windows,” the executive said. “They just want a movie that they love. They want a movie to make us cry, or make us laugh, or watching something great to talk about over dinner.”
Sarandos maintained that their original features “uniquely distinguish us” from Netflix’s competition.
“We do not plan to change our strategy. Our mix is always going to be that blend of first window, second window and deep catalog. We think that formula works best to entertain the world,” he said.
As reported by TheWrap, the Netflix original feature “Red Notice” remains the streamer’s most-watched original movie of all time with 230.9 million views. “Rebel Moon,” positioned as a sci-fi blockbuster akin to “Star Wars,” amassed 23.9 million viewers in its opening week, which fell short of the opening numbers for the much cheaper thriller “Leave the World Behind” (41.7 million views) and the Adam Sandler animated film “Leo” (34.6 million views).
Netflix said during earnings that they are not interested in linear assets, and Sarandos’ comments look to continue emphasizing the streaming platform first and not theatrical, a reported source of contention between him and Stuber.
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