Netflix is planning to make Original Movies on the level with Marvel Cinematic Universe and Lord of the Rings blockbusters, as part of its push to compete with Hollywood studios. The streaming service further intends to release more prestige films and focus on genres that studios tend to neglect nowadays (like romantic comedy).
While Netflix's TV department has tapped into the zeitgeist thanks to original series like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Stranger Things (among others), its movie division has yet to enjoy equal success across the board. Indeed, for every Netflix Original Movie that's garnered critical acclaim thus far (see: Beasts of No Nation, Mudbound, etc.), there seems to be one or more that are poorly received by critics and/or have a hard time connecting with viewers (The Cloverfield Paradox, Mute, etc.). At the same time, there are also those that have fallen somewhere in the middle and struggled to impact the world of pop culture - much less, impress most critics - yet have attracted a sizable audience (see also: Bright and Death Note).
According to THR, Netflix's movie division head Scott Stuber and his team want to make movies on the scale of Marvel Studios and Peter Jackson tentpoles, as part of their larger efforts to improve the company's track record when it comes to their original films. Netflix already has one such project in the pipeline with Six Underground, the $150-170 million action-thriller that Ryan Reynolds is headlining and Michael Bay is directing. At the same time, the company plans to continue developing filmmaker-driven offerings with awards season potential and has several such movies slated to premiere this fall alone (see: the Coen Brothers' Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Alfonso Cuarón's Roma, and so forth).
One film genre that Netflix has already enjoyed (somewhat unexpected) success with is that of the rom-com, thanks to recent releases like Set It Up, The Kissing Booth, and To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Unsurprisingly, in the wake of Crazy Rich Asians' success at the box office, THR reports that Stuber plans to continue building on that momentum by developing even more romantic comedies, in order to further tap into the demand for the genre (which has been noticeably under-served for much of the past decade now). Those plans may eventually include developing franchises around Set It Up and To All the Boys I've Loved Before - though, for the time being, neither movie has a sequel officially in the works, unlike Bright and Death Note.
It will certainly be interesting to see if this fresh approach yields better, worse, or mostly the same results for Netflix's movie division. Although the company's attempts to expand its film division so far have certainly been intriguing, there hasn't really been a clear-cut strategy behind many of its recent moves (like, picking up Cloverfield Paradox and Andy Serkis' Jungle Book movie Mowgli) and their approach has felt a bit scattershot, for that same reason. As such, their plans to start "going big" with the types of tentpoles - and not, per se, increase the sheer number of movies - they develop or acquire seems like a smart bit of course-correction that doesn't sacrifice their success with rom-coms and director-led films, in the process. Question now is, will it actually payoff?
We will continue to keep you posted on all Netflix-related updates in the future.