Netflix has a notorious reputation in the industry for spending big money on a seemingly infinite amount of original film and television projects, but a new report from The Information (via Engadget) suggests that will no longer be the case moving forward. Ted Sarandos reportedly held a meeting in early June with high-ranking TV and film executives where he discussed a new plan for being more picky with spending on original productions. Future Netflix originals will be greenlit based on their ability to bring in large number of viewers and not strictly for critical appraisal or earning Netflix industry or awards credibility.
One project The Information points out as leading Sarandos to somewhat change direction is “Triple Frontier,” the action drama from director J.C. Candor starring Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, and Pedro Pascal. The film opened in select theaters March 6 before becoming available to stream March 16 on Netflix. The streaming giant spent a massive $115 million on the thriller and The Information reports the project was a flop for the company. Risky and pricy titles like “Triple Frontier” will reportedly be a “no go” for Netflix moving forward.
Netflix reported in April that 52 million households streamed “Triple Frontier,” which suggested the film was shaping up to be a big hit for the company. The Information report claims that wasn’t the case, as the movie was also a big miss with film critics (read IndieWire’s mixed B- review here). The film’s $115 million price tag is far above what other Hollywood studios would pay for an R-rated adult drama. Even with a star-studded cast, “Triple Frontier” failed to sustain the kind of buzz that the streaming giant had hoped.
“Triple Frontier” is far from the only Netflix flop in recent years. The streaming giant has seen big misses with the likes of Baz Luhrmann’s hip-hop series “The Get Down,” the first and only season of which cost $120 million. The adventure series “Marco Polo” cost $200 million and barely registered with critics or viewers. Sometimes it pays off for Netflix to spend big (“The Crown” costs at or above $10 million an episode, while popular original films like “Bright” had a $90 million budget), and many in the industry are watching closely to see what happens with Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” later this year, as that film’s budget skyrocketed into the $150 million range.
IndieWire has reached out to Netflix for further comment.
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