As it moves forward, Netflix wants to focus on making bigger movies, making better movies, and releasing fewer than it previously did at a gluttonous pace. “Just a few years ago, we were struggling to out-monetize the market on little art films,” Netflix co-chief Ted Sarandos told analysts on the company’s April earnings call. “Today, we’re releasing some of the most popular and most watched movies in the world. Just over the last few months, things like Don’t Look Up and Red Notice and Adam Project, as examples of that.” But what this “bigger, better, fewer” directive means is unclear to those inside and outside the company.
“Bigger, better, fewer” is also strikingly more in line with the way Hollywood studios have recently begun to operate as well. For much of its existence, Netflix has thought of itself as a tech company, moving fast and breaking things; now it’s seeking to emulate the dinosaurs it once thought it would effortlessly replace.
But it’s not easy to parse what Netflix precisely means by its “Bigger, better, fewer” mandate; harder still to fathom what another word that pops up in the Hollywood Reporter piece—“discipline” —means in context. But there are some clues. It’s clear that Netflix plans to toss around big money on acquisition, “as evidenced by the recent $50 million-plus deal for the Emily Blunt thriller Pain Hustlers,” writes Kit. But in terms of content creation, “The goal will be to make the best version of something instead of cheapening out for the sake of quantity.” as one insider tells Kit ”Expect to a see a more subtle change,” adds another inside source, “Instead of making two movies for $10 million, as an example, the company will make one for $20 million.” These are some amusing distinctions, considering that as part of its most recent round of budget cuts, Netflix gutted its independent features division, which was tasked with making exactly these types of films.