Netflix is not going to change up its movie strategy in the wake of the exit of film chairman Scott Stuber, according to co-CEO Ted Sarandos.
Sarandos did not directly address Stuber’s departure, news of which came out Monday. But, asked on the streamer’s fourth-quarter 2023 earnings interview about whether “recent management departures” might signal a shift away from original movies, Sarandos replied, “We do not plan to change our strategy or the mix [of licensed and original films]. It’s always going to be that kind of blend of, first window, second window and deep catalog. We think that formula works best to entertain the world.”
Netflix’s original movies “are attracting some of the biggest audiences in the world,” Sarandos said, adding that Netflix’s original films outperform licensed titles on balance. He called out “Leave the World Behind,” the dystopian thriller from executive producers Barack and Michelle Obama that stars Mahershala Ali, Myha’la Herrold, Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke. That garnered 134.2 million views (as tallied by Netflix) worldwide in Q4, according to the company. Sarandos also cited Jennifer Lopez’s action-hero movie “The Mother,” which Netflix said had 249.9 million hours viewed in the first half of 2023; analysts at LightShed suggested that huge number made it one of the biggest movies of 2023.
Netflix’s original films “do uniquely distinguish us from the competition,” Sarandos said, touting the company’s 18 Oscars nominations across 10 different films.
“Fans really don’t care much about budgets and windows — they just want a movie that they love. They want a movie to make them cry, or make them laugh, give them something great to talk about over dinner,” Sarandos said.
Stuber, who joined Netflix in 2017 after serving as co-president of production at Universal Pictures, had dramatically increased the streamer’s original film output and forged important relationships with the likes of Oscar winners Alfonso Cuarón, Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese. Stuber is expected to stay on through mid-March, with a successor to be recruited by chief content officer Bela Bajaria.
Films coming to Netflix in 2024 include Zack Snyder’s “Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver,” as well as “Back in Action” with Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx, “Carry On” from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment starring Jason Bateman and Taron Edgerton, “Spellbound” from producer John Lasseter, Eddie Murphy reprising his role in “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” and “Six Triple Eight” starring Kerry Washington and directed by Tyler Perry.
SEE ALSO: What Scott Stuber’s Exit Means for Netflix’s Film Future