Netflix reportedly focusing on mid-budget films

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Dan Lin, Netflix’s new head of film is said to want to create a slate at the company with better quality productions made on a modest budget.

Last month it was announced that Dan Lin would be taking over the reins of Netflix’s film division following the exit of Scott Stuber.

For years, Stuber had been in charge of the Silicon Valley company’s movie slate and had overseen a huge ramp-up in development that at one point saw Netflix releasing a new film on its service every week.

This made Netflix’s movie slate far larger than any of its studio competitors, and while Stuber would eventually begin to reduce the number of films the company put out, the general consensus was that Netflix suffered from quality control issues given that one person had responsibility for so many projects.

Over at Disney, one factor offered to explain the drop in interest in the company’s Marvel Cinematic Universe is often said to be a lack of quality control, too, with Marvel Studios’ boss Kevin Feige simply not able to give each project the same care and attention that he used to.

For Stuber at Netflix, this issue was even more pronounced, given that at the peak of the streamer’s production boom he was aiming to release 90 films in a single year – something he proudly called a ‘cinematic onslaught’ back in 2021.

Stuber has now departed the company and Lin – producer of The LEGO Movie and plenty of other studio hits – is in the hot seat. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lin’s strategy is going to be markedly different from Stuber’s approach. It doesn’t look as though we’ll be seeing many huge-budget ventures like Rebel Moon or The Gray Man in the future, as according to the outlet, projects such as these don’t meet Lin’s criteria. The executive reportedly told the company’s COO, Bela Bajaria that the ‘movies weren’t great and the financials didn’t add up’.

To be clear, Lin didn’t specifically name these two films, but both Rebel Moon and The Gray Man are symptomatic of one of Netflix’s issues, given that the company pours huge amounts of cash into these high-budget projects that then fail to impress critics or audiences.

Instead, Lin – who is said to have closely examined all of Netflix’s viewership data – will be looking to focus on the kind of mid-size movies that can make an impact for the company, drawing in eyeballs and subscribers for a more modest cost.

Don’t assume that lower-cost films means we’ll be getting more of them, however: the report also states that moving forwards, the company’s film output ‘may be smaller than those working with Netflix are accustomed to’.

Shrinking its slate will certainly give Lin a greater amount of control over the company’s film division, and hopefully mean that the quality of Netflix’s output (which can be wildly inconsistent) heads in the right direction.

It will be some time before we see the fruits of Lin’s efforts materialise, but throughout the rest of this year, the projects that the company commissions will slowly give us a clearer idea of what Netflix’s film division will look like. If this helps to preserve the health of the mid-budget movie though, it sounds good to us.

We’ll bring you more on Netflix’s new-look film division as we hear it.

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