Netflix recently announced a price increase for subscribers, news that wasn’t particularly well-received. (Price increases often aren’t, obviously, but hey, inflation is a thing, if you’re feeling charitable.)

Along with the monthly fee increase, Netflix has announced their intentions to further expand their original film production. They released eight films in the third quarter of 2016, so their current production isn’t exactly limited.

However, according to this piece from Variety, Netflix is going to be thinking a lot bigger in 2018:

Netflix expects to release around 80 original films next year, as it looks to hit the kind of scale in movies that it’s achieved on the TV side, according to chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

“They range anywhere from the million-dollar Sundance hit, all the way up to something on a much larger scale,” like Will Smith-starrer “Bright,” Sarandos said in an investors’ interview Monday about Netflix’s third-quarter 2017 results.

80 films! That’s a lot, although as Sarandos notes, they’re not all going to be big-budget affairs:

“Bright,” a cop action-thriller movie directed by David Ayer, had a reported production price tag of $90 million. It’s set to debut on Netflix worldwide on Dec. 22. Sarandos also cited as a forthcoming big-budget picture Martin Scorsese’s gangster movie “The Irishman,” starring Robert DeNiro, slated to be released on Netflix in early 2019. “The Irishman” has a budget of more $100 million.

Sarandos said with the release of “Bright” — a “big-budget, event movie” — “I think people will start seeing the potential for this original movie initiative, that it could be done on the enormous scale we have on the television side.”
(Did you catch that Netflix is releasing the new Will Smith thriller Bright?)
Netflix has done some fantastic work in the world of television, quickly establishing themselves as Emmy mainstays with shows like House of CardsMaster of None, and more. And Netflix certainly has the revenue and income to enter the otherwise prohibitive world of film production, sitting on around $2 billion in cash on hand and planning to spend in the neighborhood of $7 and $8 billion in 2018 on content production. That’s plenty for a few tentpole films as well as the standard variety of smaller projects.
Whether this ends up being worth it long-term for Netflix remains to be seen, but as they continue to lose content deals from studios angling to keep their streaming rights in house, it certainly seems worth trying. And a new outlet for filmmakers is never a bad thing.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.