During the Producers Guild of America’s annual in New York, Netflix boss Scott Stuber shared with Ron Howard how the streaming platform selects which films to greenlight and how talent is compensated, giving his take on the ongoing issue between them and major cinema chains due to Netflix’s brief theatrical window
Stuber discussed the ways they do their deals after the initial deal with talents, stating that everything should be fair and beneficial to both parties. The Netflix boss explained that they are a bit different with the deals they make,
“We have a model. If we make a film, we pay in success.”
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) November 10, 2019
For a project, Stuber explained that they explore a talent’s agreement together with their talent’s legal team to find the best-case scenario for both parties, and not have the other party being left feeling that they got taken advantage of.
In regards to the streaming giant’s ongoing issue with major cinemas over their very brief theatrical window that the company extended this year with the likes of The Irishman being shown in cinemas a month before it premieres on Netflix, Stuber stated that the issue is a complicated one that is not just isolated to Netflix but to the entire film industry in general.
Stuber stated that on the business end of things, the film industry has become really narrow, with most mainstream movies about horror and animation that some film genres have been left out due to the difficulty level of producing them.
According to the Netflix boss, if you create a drama and it doesn’t deliver the way you want it to and go up against a mainstream film with hundreds of millions in finances with bigger and better marketing these projects won’t do well. Stuber added that these smaller projects should band together and discard the ‘us versus them’ mindset and think of a way to improve the funnel. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to give different filmmakers and storytellers a fighting chance.
He also gave an idea about how Netflix’s film division is constructed compared to a big studio with multiple labels. Stuber explained that they have different groups for different genres that will cater to all audiences. Stuber also pointed out that the success rate from pitching a project to turn it into a movie is very small besides comedy. Because in comedy, usually there will be a comedian attached who would do the ideas they like. But when it comes to other genres like thrillers or dramas, Stuber said that even if it was the best story or idea they would still probably turn it down because these are all execution-based.
“Go do the work. Because we want to buy it to make it. I don’t want to buy it to develop it.”