The big story of the next decade of entertainment will undoubtedly be how streaming services take the center stage when it comes to creating content for a global audience. Once thought to be the domain of Hollywood studios, franchises are fast becoming a mainstay of online streaming platforms. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Tendo Nagenda, VP of original film at Netflix, revealed that the streaming giant has ambitions to bring the next generation of giant film franchises to the world.
“We’re looking at big, broad-audience, PG-level adventure films as something that we want to get into. Something along the lines of the first Star Wars, or Harry Potter 1 and 2. A lot of family live action, fantasy, spectacle movies that we think are big and can play great. A Jumanji-type of story. That is the next frontier …We want to encourage great talent to think that way. George Lucas created Star Wars – it wasn’t based on a book. If you have that kind of imagination – like the Wachowskis with The Matrix – we feel like we’re the place to take the chance on those types of innovative ideas and filmmakers.”
The idea that a streaming platform might be able to compete with Hollywood when it comes to franchise IP would have seemed unthinkable a mere decade ago. Now, it seems not only likely but also inevitable that the next Game of Thrones, Harry Potter or Matrix will be found on VOD rather than on the big screen in theaters.
There was a time when Netflix and other streaming platforms were viewed as a dumping ground for films and shows that were too low-quality to find distributors at proper Hollywood studios. Netflix worked hard to correct that image, offering Oscar-caliber directors like Martin Scorses and Spike Lee a combination of giant budgets, complete freedom over the filmmaking process, and the promise of their movies getting a limited theatrical release to lure them away from traditional studios.
The strategy paid off, and Scorsese’s The Irishman and Lee’s Da 5 Bloods made their triumphant debut on Netflix, signaling the platform’s shift towards more quality-oriented programming. Another crucial factor that played a major role in Netflix’s ascendance is the global lockdown, and social distancing measures that will keep many theater chains the world over closed down for months to come.
In such desperate times for the entertainment industry, online streaming is fast becoming the go-to option, with surprisingly lucrative results, as was witnessed by the $100 million+ earnings from the digital release of Trolls World Tour.
Now that Disney has announced their upcoming blockbuster Mulan will debut on Disney+ instead of in theaters, the odds are continuing to stack in favor of online streaming. With Netflix leading the pack when it comes to virtual streaming platforms, the day is not far when its recent standalone successes like The Old Guard or Extraction spawn the next generation of the world’s most profitable movie franchises. This news comes from The Hollywood Reporter.