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Netflix admits it focused on quantity over quality with original films, but not anymore

It's not your imagination: it turns out that Netflix really has been just churning out films with little regard for quality.
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Published onNovember 8, 2023

Netflix with popcorn stock photo 1
TL;DR
  • It’s a common conception that Netflix films have a perceived low-quality bar.
  • As it turns out, this is actually true, as the company admitted it had been focused on quantity over quality with its movies.
  • However, this will not continue in 2024, with the company planning to halve its film output.

Netflix has released a few critically acclaimed original films. Alfonso Cuarrón’s Roma won three Academy Awards, and Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation was one of the most highly regarded films of 2015. However, for every movie that landed with critics and audiences, there were a dozen other films that were flat-out duds. It felt like Netflix was just greenlighting anything and everything and accidentally having a few hits.

Now, we have official confirmation that this is somewhat true. According to a Variety piece on the subject, Netflix’s head of film, Scott Stuber, admitted that the quantity of movies was more important than their quality.

“We were growing a new studio,” Stuber told the publication. “We’d only been doing this for a few years, and we were up against 100-year-old companies. So you have to ask yourself, ‘What is your business model?’ And for a while, it was just making sure that we had enough. We needed volume.”

In other words, if you thought Netflix was just tossing stuff at the wall to see what sticks, you were actually right.

However, this policy will not continue into 2024. Instead of its usual habit of releasing around 50 films annually — that’s nearly one each week! — it will halve that and focus on 25 to 30 movies.

And those movies will be more heavily scrutinized than they have been in the past. In fact, Netflix put a live-action Masters of the Universe project into turnaround, meaning it dropped a potentially lucrative franchise over quality concerns. It is also focused on developing smaller-scale projects from proven directors, such as David Fincher’s new revenge thriller The Killer. These are moves smart studios make, which means Netflix is learning.

Hopefully, this new strategy will mean a better slate of Netflix films in 2024 than we’ve seen over the past few years.