Netflix Not Scaling Back Original Movie Production, Despite Pending Exit of Studio Boss Scott Stuber

Netflix’s Hollywood-leading 18 Oscar nominations came the day after it was disclosed that Scott Stuber, chairman of films for the streamer, would be exiting the company in March to start his own company.

The departure comes as Netflix in 2023 saw increased subscriber interest in third-party licensed content, such as “Suits,” and “Young Sheldon,” in addition to licensed Sony Pictures (The Equalizer 3, Bullet Train, No Hard Feelings) and Universal Pictures (The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Minions, Trolls, The Boss Baby) movies.

Scott Stuber

While no reason was given for Stuber’s pending departure, whose position will be handled by chief content officer Bela Bajaria in the interim, co-CEO Ted Sarandos, who made no mention of Stuber on the Jan. 23 fiscal webcast, reiterated the streamer’s ongoing motivation for spending big to produce critically acclaimed feature films, in addition to licensing third-party content.

He said that by some accounts The Mother, about a former covert assassin turned single mom played by Jennifer Lopez, was the most-watched movie in the world in 2023.

“Our original movies are attracting some of the biggest audiences in the world,” Sarandos said, adding that Netflix original movies comprised 48 out of 52 weeks on Nielsen’s Top 10 movies chart in 2023.

Current action thriller Lift, co-starring Kevin Hart, has dominated the streamer’s overall viewership for the past two weeks through Jan. 21, a benchmark rivaled by the streamer’s apocalyptic thriller Leave the World Behind, co-executive produced by former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Netflix’s Oscar nominations are led by Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein tribute Maestro with seven nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress, among others.

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“Fans don’t care about budgets and [theatrical] windows, they want a movie that they love. A movie to make them cry, or make them laugh, or give them something to talk about over dinner,” Sarandos said, adding that the streamer’s original movies outperform licensed studio feature films.

“We do not plan the strategy, or the mix, it’s always going to be that blend of first window, second window and deep catalog,” he said. “We think that formula works best to entertain the world.”

Peacock Announces First Original Movies From Universal Pictures to Bow in 2023

Peacock May 2 announced three upcoming original movies scheduled to premiere on the service in 2023: Shooting Stars, Praise This and The Killer. Each movie is part of the previously announced collaboration with Universal Pictures to produce a number of films made exclusively for the NBCUniversal streaming service.

“We know people join Peacock to watch movies, so we are constantly adding more to serve fans,” Kelly Campbell, president of Peacock and direct-to-consumer and international for NBCUniversal, said in a statement. “Together with the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, we are excited to deliver fresh, exclusive, original films next year to our customers in addition to the legendary Universal Pictures blockbuster films and beloved franchises streaming now.”

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Peacock will be home to the first film from NBCUniversal’s production deal with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Company. Shooting Stars follows LeBron’s origin story as a high-school basketball player and is currently being filmed in his hometown of Akron. Academy Award-nominees Rachel Winter and Terence Winter are producing along with The SpringHill Company.

From producer Will Packer, who also produced Girls Trip, comes Praise This, starring Chloe Bailey as the newest member of a community’s church choir who pushes her members in a hipper musical direction and whose involvement with an irreverent hip-hop star may kick off — or jeopardize — her own musical career.

And celebrated action director John Woo returns to reimagine and direct his own classic, The Killer. These exclusive original movies will join Peacock’s catalog as the service continues to expand with a range of films for every genre and user.