Netflix is reshaping the world of online streaming as it continues to expand its original programming. Posting strong numbers from its collaborations with Marvel, the service is also making waves with original films and stand-up comedy. Stand up specials from Amy Schumer and Dave Chapelle are tracking well, while Netflix's exclusive Adam Sandler films have been viewed over half a billion times.
13 Reasons Why was another smashing success for Netflix, as well as Marvel's Iron Fist despite poor critical reception. While the Marvel properties bring in a substantial audience, Netflix is getting even bigger with its latest original film, Bright; which stars Will Smith, Noomi Rapace, and Joel Edgerton in the David Ayer (Suicide Squad) directed and Max Landis (Chronicle) written feature. Another high profile film slated for Netflix is the Brad Pitt lead War Machine. As Netflix continues to add to its slate, we could begin to see the streaming service offerings in more mainstream venues.
In its quarterly shareholder statement, Netflix highlights several of its most popular (recent) series and the uptick in original films. The report praises their films that appear to have found their niche market, and acknowledged that others (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny) have not. In a bold move, Netflix also announced being open to the idea of their original films getting theatrical release in the US, stating:
"Since our members are funding these films, they should be the first to see them. But we are also open to supporting the large theater chains, such as AMC and Regal in the US, if they want to offer our films, such as our upcoming Will Smith film Bright, in theatres simultaneous to Netflix. Let consumers choose."
It's hard to think of Netflix as an indie movie studio, but compared to behemoths like Warner Bros. or Disney, that's what the streaming service is aiming for. Having brought on Scott Stuber (producer for Ted, Patriot's Day) to lead what they call their "film initiative," Netflix is poised to muscle in on some of the mainstream Hollywood traffic.
The overall tone of the 11-page report reads like a competent, confident company is broadening its reach by venturing into a new (to Netflix) market. David Ayer's Bright cost Netflix $90 million all-in, and the company maintains that features films like these are funded by their ever-expanding subscriber base. Will that change if a new source of revenue comes from Netflix solidifying deals with major theater chains?
Bright and War Machine are both expected to be released on Netflix later in 2017.