Netflix has made its franchise intentions quite clear over the last year, from spending over $400 million for the rights to Rian Johnson’s two “Knives Out” sequels to spending $200 million on the Russo Brothers’ franchise-starting “The Gray Man.” There’s also the franchise expansion currently taking place with Zack Snyder’s “Army of the Dead,” plus sequels in development to top Netflix hits “Extraction,” “Enola Holmes,” and “The Old Guard.” Even “Spencer Confidential” director Peter Berg has assured subscribers that a sequel is “definitely” happening.
All of the released films mentioned above rank within the top 10 of the biggest Netflix original film debuts of all time. “Extraction” tops the list with 99 million household views over its first month of release (it’s important to note that Netflix counts two minutes of viewing as a household view). One movie in the Netflix top 10 that is not getting a sequel is Michael Bay’s $150 million action tentpole “6 Underground,” starring Ryan Reynolds and Dave Franco. Despite bringing in 83 million household views (more than “Old Guard” and “Enola Holmes,” which are getting sequels), “6 Underground” was seen as something of a disappointment internally, at least according to Netflix’s head of original films Scott Stuber.
“We didn’t feel like we got there on that one creatively,” Stuber recently told Variety about Bay’s movie. “It was a nice hit, but at the end of the day we didn’t feel like we nailed the mark to justify coming back again. There just wasn’t that deep love for those characters or that world.”
When it comes to its original movies, Netflix is adamant about releasing films that tap into the cultural zeitgeist. That’s been the streamer’s biggest uphill battle. While some Netflix television series have become widespread cultural phenomenons (see “Bridgerton” as a recent example), Netflix’s original movies are sorely lacking in that department.
“We have to be more consistent at making these movies more culturally relevant and putting them in the zeitgeist,” Stuber said. “We know the audience is there for these movies, but I want people to feel that impact in their conversations with friends and colleagues where they’re saying did you hear about this movie ‘Old Guard’? We’ve done it, but we haven’t done it consistently.”
Head over to Variety’s website to read more from Stuber’s latest interview.