While Netflix has changed up the TV landscape forever, its impact on the film scene has been far more underwhelming. To date they’ve had one legitimate blockbuster (“Bright”) which scored muted reviews, three prestige films of note (“Annihilation,” “Mudbound,” “Beasts of No Nation”), and a handful of very solid genre efforts (“Okja,” “Gerald’s Game,” “Hush”).
Those are exceptions though as most of the time their product is perceived as consisting of Adam Sandler dumpster fires, low-budget thrillers, festival acquisitions that gain no traction, and cast offs that studios sell to them to cut their losses (eg. “The Cloverfield Paradox”). In short, their reputation for quality control is fairly abysmal even as they do have an earned and welcome reputation for giving filmmakers far more creative leeway than studios.
Netflix is well aware of this and are determined to change things up. Netflix film division chief Scott Stuber has reportedly mandated a desire for more blockbusters and prestige flicks, and less of mid-range filler according to THR. Specifically he’s after product that will launch Netflix original films to the same level as Netflix television, and so they’re pursuing films on a scale of Marvel projects or fantasy epics ala “The Lord of the Rings,” along with prestige projects they can campaign for awards.
The first building blocks for this have already been put in place with Michael Bay’s “Six Underground” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” on their way, costing around $150 million each, along with the “Bright” sequel. More immediate is their upcoming Fall film slate which includes a wealth of fare that would make any studio envious. Its prestige film slate for the rest of the year includes:
Sep 14th: “The Land of Steady Habits” (d. Nicole Holofcener)
Sep 28th: “Hold the Dark” (d.: Jeremy Saulnier)
Oct 12th: “Apostle” (d.: Gareth Evans)
Oct 12th: “The Kindergarten Teacher” (d.: Sara Colangelo)
Oct 19th: “22 July” (d.: Paul Greengrass)
Nov 2nd: “The Other Side of the World” (d.: Orson Welles)
Nov 9th: “Outlaw King” (d.: David MacKenzie)
Nov 16th: “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (d.: Joel & Ethan Coen)
Nov 16th: “Girl” (d.: Lukas Dhont)
Dec 14th: “Roma” (d.: Alfonso Cuaron)
Dec 21st: “Bird Box” (d.: Susanne Bier)
Many of these titles are premiering at the Venice Film Festival which kicks off next week, with reviews likely to suggest which of these films will break through.