What the “red notice” says about the evolution of the Netflix film strategy

Turns out having three of the world’s biggest stars in your action-comedy-caper-whatever flick is still a pretty good recipe for success, even if critics deride the result as smooth and derivative. At least the time-worn recipe cooked up a delicious treat for Netflix

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, of which Red Notice is now the most viewed original feature in the history of the service.

The company’s newly hatched Top 10 lists put Red Notice at No.1 among all English-language feature films, with nearly 329 million hours watched in its first 28 days of release (it debuted on November 5). That’s the equivalent of 163 million of the company’s 214 million accounts that watch the entire two-hour movie, which equates to maybe more people watching a single feature film out of any one. distribution platform over a period of four weeks.

And it’s not just a hit in the United States. The film is in the Company’s Top 10 in 94 countries around the world, and No. 1 in most of them during the last full week of November. The split between critical and public ratings was more of a gulf; only 36% of Rotten Tomatoes reviews gave it a positive review, while 92% of viewers did.

More importantly, however, Red Notice represents an evolving strategy for Netflix as it adjusts its post-pandemic production pipeline amid heightened international competition from Hollywood media companies and a growing coterie of international competitors.

Put simply, the company plans to make a few fewer feature film projects, but take bigger swings with those films, in the hopes that they will have the kind of impact. Red Notice did on audience and engagement. There’s a simple reason for the change: Even company executives think Netflix is ​​making too many movies.

Netflix’s global director of films Scott Stuber, a longtime former Hollywood executive, summed up Bloomberg’s motivation well: “I think one of the fair criticisms has been that we are doing too much and not enough is good.

The company has produced / purchased a set of “big” Oscar-nominated films each year since at least 2018, when Alfonso Cuaron’s film Rome won three Oscars, for Best Director, Cinematography and Foreign Language Film.

Netflix even hired Lisa Taback, a veteran Oscar campaign consultant, as vice president leading the awards efforts. Last year, the company received more Oscar nominations (and Emmys too) than anyone, as it continues to demonstrate the ‘quality’ side of its list to subscribers (and critics) who care about this genre. of Imprimatur.

These kinds of films tend to debut this time of year, as Hollywood has long pitched its serious (and much less serious but overly optimistic) Oscar contenders. For Netflix, recently released 2021 contestants include Jane Campion’s long-awaited return to features with The Dog power, and that of Jeymes Samuel The more they fall.

But the company is making a parcel other movies that fall somewhere next to contenders and blockbusters like Red Notice and Zack Snyder’s summer zombie movie, Army of the dead. In total, the company will release at least 90 films in 2021, around one every four days, and possibly manner more than that. However you count everything, no other studio comes close in terms of feature release.

Some of these other films occupy a specific niche of fan service, like the holiday-themed romantic and family comedies that rival the annual Christmas and Valentine’s Day assaults of Lifetime and Hallmark. But many more come and go without too much notice, red or not.

In part, the company is beefing up its middleman offerings to compensate for any Hollywood movies that are no longer licensed to it, as competitors reclaim the rights to flesh out their own streaming services.

Mission accomplished for Netflix. Now comes the part where he begins to ensure that his investments in film projects will have long-term legs with viewers. As with Netflix’s competition, it’s likely to be a lot more big-time action comedy movies, as a lot of people around the world seem to be enjoying watching them, regardless of the reviews.

Just watch this list of top 10 English language movies again. It’s stuffed with crisp action shots such as Extraction, 6 Underground, and The old guard. The one feature that doesn’t come close to connecting big stars in action-packed stories shaded by hints of horror, comedy, mystery or thriller is also the only sequel and rom-com, 2020‘s The Kissing Booth 2.

You could certainly argue that Martin Scorsese Irish not quite suitable either. 2019’s 3.5-hour organized crime epic, set on a hitman and featuring multiple Oscar winners in front and behind the camera, won’t be mistaken for an Avengers movie.

But again associating Scorsese with frequent muses Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci was also the kind of film designed to break the noise, just like Red Notice a scintillating and charismatic program. And it worked, even though Netflix paid Paramount

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a ton of money to take over the expensive project.

Netflix is ​​paying more attention to its bigger projects in other ways as well. Suites, of course, for Extraction and The old guard, for example. But also live interactive experiences for Army of the dead and an anime hit based on League of Legends Esoteric. Army of the dead already had a first prequel / spin-off too, in Army of thieves.

Expect more focus on crowd-pleasing films that are prepared for sequels and spinoffs, and feature international stars who draw audiences with toothy smiles amid the on-screen chaos that is unfolding. surround them. In this regard, Netflix is ​​one step closer to Hollywood’s oldest traditions and recipes for success.

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