One of our favorite movie review podcast/YouTube channels is RedLetterMedia.
Today, they published their review of Netflix’s original ‘The Cloverfield Paradox,’ one of the most divisive movies on the service to-date. And one quote stuck out to me from their review, as the hosts of the show spoke about how Netflix is potentially becoming the new ‘direct to video’ release for movies.
For those less familiar with what that might mean, ‘direct to video’ was how many terrible movies were released pre-Netflix. If after production, the studio heads determined that perhaps the movie isn’t going to handle itself well in theaters, they would instead just ship the movie straight to VHS or in more modern times, DVD.
Now it seems like studios are using Netflix to dump less successful works in an effort to recoup some of their losses following movie production. The hosts also comment that this is a risky strategy for Netflix, that they might lose some clout for their original films if they keep missing. While Amazon Prime has focused on several award-bait style films that have done well critically, but many less so commercially.
There are rumors floating around about Netflix’s ‘The Cloverfield Paradox,’ that test groups hated the movie so much, the producers decided that it would be best to try and drop it off on Netflix instead of suffering a disastrous and expensive theater run. Instead they convinced Netflix to pay $50 million for the film, and then spent a ton of money on one massive Super Bowl ad.
But now here is the question. Does Netflix care that the movie is getting panned?
Just recently, Netflix released ‘Bright,’ a Will Smith sci-fi fantasty flick that has a Rotten Tomatoes score in the 20%s. The movie has been continually panned by critics, but Netflix brass came out in defense of the film arguing that it has actually been a commercial smash for the service. Just another example of critics and commercial viewership not aligning when it comes to the Netflix catalog.