REPORT: Netflix Notably Worse at Picking Original Movies than Big Studios

There’s no question that Netflix is changing the television game with their original shows. Not only is the quantity of content they release picking up, a study we put together in 2015 found that they are better at picking new shows when compared to their network counterparts by a substantial margin (still losing out to HBO, however).

But what about all those movies with the “Netflix Original” logo?

Netflix is averaging an IMDB rating of 5.92 for most of their original films. Studio movies are scoring significantly better, at 6.77 average stars.

Unless you know exactly what you want when logging into Netflix (who does?), you likely spend an inordinate amount of time scrolling through the library trying to find something to watch. And as of late, you have also probably noticed a large percentage of these titles having the “Netflix Original” tag. Alongside a rapid-fire release of new television series and comedy specials, Netflix also gives subscribers a growing list of original movies.

We wanted to see if the streaming giant has had similar success when compared to their television shows, so we pulled data on the IMDB ratings of their recent film releases. We compared this against the equivalent number of major theatrical releases in 2017, targeting a mix of studios and genres. Interestingly, it turns out that Netflix has struggled to find a big win on film thus far, despite bringing in some big-name talent like Brad Pitt and Ricky Gervais.

Netflix is averaging an IMDB rating of 5.92 for most of their original films. For reference, the recent ‘Baywatch’ film received a 5.8 IMDB star rating. Studio movies are scoring significantly better, at 6.77 average stars. Most notably, Netflix’s standard deviation is far smaller, with very few movies getting high ratings or low ratings, most falling squarely in the middle, meaning no big winners, something they’re still looking for in a film release.

For those curious, here are the list of movies used for this comparison:

Netflix Movies IMDB Score Studio Movies IMDB Score
Barry 5.9 A Dog’s Purpose 7.1
Beasts of No Nation 7.8 Alien: Covenant 6.7
Brahman Naman 5.8 Baby Driver 8.3
Burning Sands 6.2 Baywatch 5.8
Clinical 5.1 Beauty and the Beast 7.4
Coin Heist 4.8 Despicable Me 3 6.4
Sword of Destiny 6.1 Fate of the Furious 6.9
The Discovery 6.3 Fifty Shades Darker 4.6
Girlfriend’s Day 5.3 Fist Fight 5.7
Handsome 5.3 Get Out 7.8
I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore 7 Ghost in the Shell 6.6
Imperial Dreams 6.9 Gifted 7.7
Mercy 4.2 Guardians of the Galaxy 2 8.1
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday 6.2 John Wick 2 7.7
Rebirth 4.9 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword 7.2
The Ridiculous 6 4.8 Kong: Skull Island 6.8
Sand Castle 6.3 Life 6.7
Sandy Wexler 5.1 Logan 8.2
Shimmer Lake 6.2 Power Rangers 6.2
Special Correspondents 5.8 Priates of the Caribbean 7
Spectral 6.3 Rings 4.5
Take the 10 4.9 T2 Trainspotting 7.4
Tallulah 6.8 The Boss Baby 6.4
The Fundamentals of Caring 7.4 The LEGO Batman Movie 7.4
The Most Hated Woman in America 6.1 The Mummy 5.7
The Siege of Jadotville 7.3 The Space Between Us 6.4
Small Crimes 5.8 Transformers: The Last Knight 5.3
You Get Me 4.7 War for the Planet of the Apes 8.1
War Machine 6.1 Wonder Woman 7.9
Win it All 6.3 xXx: Return of Xander Cage 5.2
Average 5.92 Average 6.77

Netflix of course has a very different incentive structure than the movie studios, who must entice viewers to to shell out $10-20 to leave their house to watch a film. Where Netflix just has to give us something *good enough* to watch while we’re sitting in our comfort clothes on a Tuesday evening.

But if how much they’re spending on Brad Pitt and Will Smith to star in their films is any indication, *good enough* isn’t their goal. They want a blockbuster