Although Marvin mainly uses Netflix for the often excellent series, he thought it was time to dive into the Netflix Original films in the past month. Critics are often negative and Netflix seems to prefer its series, but why?

Browsing through Netflix, I was thinking about the subject of this Serial, while here and there I added a movie or series to ‘my list’. At the end of the ride, I discovered that a new Original movie had just been released, one that seemed a perfect fit for this horror month: Apostle. Once it became clear to me that this is a film by Gareth Evans, the man who wrote and directed the fantastic The Raid movies, and that Dan Stevens (who blew me away with his acting in The Guest and Legion) was starring, I had to watch him that night.

So it happened, and damn it, that turned out to be a nice video. One that I still have enough to criticize about, but nevertheless unique enough to play again on the next Halloween. My take on this movie aside, it did make me realize something. That I watch very few Netflix Original movies, and that if I got a gun pointed at me and had to name ten good Netflix Original movies, that would mean my end. Quite bizarre, because I still sit on the streaming service every day.

But why actually? Is the offer just that good, is Netflix putting all the money into the series, or is it purely due to me (and am I put off by films like Bright)? Time to take a look at the world of Netflix Original movies.

Series vs. movies

We do not need to dwell on the many series that Netflix offers. Stranger Things, House of Cards, Mindhunter, Big Mouth, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Glow, Orange is the new Black, Narcos, Bojack Horseman, Daredevil… The list of Original series that get rave reviews goes on and on. Many of these series also require a considerable budget, but fortunately Netflix is ​​not averse to getting into debt and throwing millions around like it’s nothing.

Do Original films not have such a nice budget? Yes, just look at the CGI party called Bright. The big difference between the two forms of media, at least for Netflix, is that series inspire users to binge-watch, in other words, to use Netflix for hours on end. A movie ends in two hours on average, after which you can quietly turn off the TV and get on with your life – people come back for a series. That phenomenon is an incredibly important part of Netflix’s success.

It is hardly possible to compare budgets, especially because the success of a film or series on Netflix is ​​very difficult to determine. The streaming service has always been very secretive about the numbers of people who watch something, but everyone with the internet knows that the series create more hype online than the movies. A phenomenon that is not necessarily unique to Netflix (with the exception of the Marvel films).

Infographic: Binge Behavior in the US (via Time)

More than you can see in your life?

What about the numbers? It went too far for me to count them all, according to Vulture there are currently more than 160 Original films on Netflix, but that number seems very flattering to me. After all, many of them were bought over for a few bucks or are exclusively distributed in certain countries, while they were not made by Netflix and much later received the ‘Original’ stamp, or at least were not commissioned by Netflix. According to Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, about 80 Original films had to be released in 2018 – he said that at least in October of last year.

Minus children’s series, non-fiction series, sketch comedy series, series continued by Netflix (such as Arrested Development and Lucifer), and non-English series, according to Thrillist, there are about 60. In total there are undoubtedly more series – Business Insider mentions in July already 73 pieces – and since then only more have been added (take recently The Haunting of Hill House). About 90 seems feasible at the end of the year, but if we can believe Netflix ‘CFO David Wells, Netflix will offer more than 700 Original TV shows by the end of 2018 (with over 80 foreign, non-English series on top of that). ). Well, bullshit.

A unique, vague position

There is no question that Netflix is ​​a series king, but when we look at the ratings of Original films… A bit painful, at least compared to the major film studios. Last year, Exstreamist compared the scores of Netflix films with ‘regular’ cinema films, and came to the conclusion that Netflix films score on average almost 0.8 (on a scale of 10) less than the cinema films. Those are IMDB ratings, so it doesn’t mean very much, but that trend is also noticeable on aggregation sites like Rotten Tomatoes.

Real cinema snobs will do well to visit the cinema a bit more often than to turn on Netflix at home, but an average movie viewer is not a cinema snob. They are not so inclined to travel to a cinema and then also pay around thirteen euros for a ticket to watch one movie, while they can watch Netflix films for the same amount for a month. Then no brilliant films that are overloaded with tens; many titles guarantee an evening of entertainment, and more is sometimes not necessary. Netflix simply doesn’t have to film gold to remain an industry leader.

(Un) Originals

The big problem when discussing Netflix Originals is the fact that the denominator ‘original’ is so vague and doesn’t really make any sense. A lot of the Originals are not original, period. If Netflix takes a handful of money and throws it in any direction, and a movie or series crawls back six months later, that doesn’t necessarily mean Netflix actually made that movie or series. They are hardly involved in production. Hell, it’s now a meme that everyone and his mom gets a movie / series greenlit by Netflix.

For Netflix, it is especially important that these Originals remain their property, and that they do not depend on other parties for their greatest successes. Take the film deal that Netflix has with Disney until 2019, after which, for example, the Star Wars and Marvel films (each one of the ratings hits, no doubt) will disappear and can be found at Disney’s own streaming service. Chief Content Officer Sarandos’ response last year:

“We just have to focus on creating content that our members can’t live without… Whether or not one of our partners decides to produce for us or compete with us, that’s really a choice that they have to make based on their own business. ”

With the Original stamp, Netflix only says “look, you won’t get to see this at the competitor”, but apparently ‘Netflix Exclusive’ or something similar was too standard. Nevertheless, there are a whole slew of movies that wouldn’t exist without Netflix; this month you’ll find some new horror titles on the streaming service, while last summer it was mostly rom-coms.

Niche it up

Yes, rom-coms. Films that have been doing poorly in cinemas since the beginning of time – well, since the beginning of this millennium – and are usually razed to the ground by critics. Last summer, Netflix breathed new life into the genre with ‘the summer of love’, and as it turns out, viewers went crazy for all that sweetness. More than 80 million users watched the Summer of Love movies, and according to the Netflix report on ratings in the third quarter of this year, the Original Movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before “ most viewed original films ever with strong repeat viewing ”(via Variety).

In the past year it seems as if Netflix is ​​very aware of the moderate success of its Original films. Popular genres (like superheroes, action and drama) can still be found in abundance, but now that it appears that semi-niche films like rom-coms and horror are often watched, it will be the streaming service’s about how critics deal with them. . They know how many users watch their movies, and apparently there are more than enough to keep pushing Originals and developing / buying new ones.

Even Bright, a movie that cost Netflix $ 90 million to produce and is rated 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, is getting a sequel. Personally, I thought that movie was really bad (check the gif below), and many critics agree on that, but the amount of viewers and the fact that Will Smith is in it must be enough to make a ridiculous amount of money for a sequel. throw. In terms of quality, it cannot compete with fantasy cinema hits, but again: Netflix does not have to worry about that.

And fill it up

Moral of this story? Netflix Original movies don’t have to be good, they have to be entertaining enough to get some views and keep people on Netflix longer. Sure, there are a few exceptions – even some really good and unique films (such as Beasts Of No Nation) – but it seems that Netflix is ​​mostly keen to spice up its offering. And please let’s not forget that the streaming service has only been dealing with Original films for the past three years, and that the number of users is growing like crazy.

In a world where Adam Sandler is handed a Netflix deal, we can say that Netflix really doesn’t care if there are a few flops in their large film and series offer. Series are still being promoted more (just create a new profile or three and look at what is recommended) and seem more important to Netflix, but with the growing range of crappy and non-crappy films, there is something for everyone.

If the net worth of Netflix grows even more, they will undoubtedly continue to “produce” more ‘Original’ films, and with a bit of luck for us there are a few gems in between. Anyway, I know myself that next week I will probably have another night where I would rather scroll through the Netflix movies to find an entertaining movie than travel to a cinema, or – something that I find less and less thanks to Netflix. check my own DVD / Blu-ray collection on it.

What you? Do you use Netflix for the films or do you watch the series 99% of the time? Do you expect moderation when you turn on a Netflix movie, or does the offer surprise you? Let us know in the comments!

Marvin’s top 5 Netflix Original movies (but don’t pin me down):

  • 5. The Ritual
  • 4. Jim & Andy
  • 3. Cargo
  • 2. Beasts of No Nation
  • 1. Gerald’s Game

The Filmvisie serial:

23/08 Part I – Where are the game series? The Witcher, Castlevania and more

20/09 Part II – TV horor: will it ever get better than Hannibal?

18/10 Part III – Netflix Original films: cinema worthy or TV fun?

Categorized in: