The Russo brothers say Netflix is more of a tech company than a movie studio

via Netflix

In the last decade, the media landscape has changed dramatically. The immense growth of media streaming platforms has completely changed how people watch TV and movies. And no company embodies this change better than Netflix. The most famous of the major streaming platforms, Netflix has been a trendsetter in the streaming space, redefining what people expect from a streaming platform. And in a new interview, Anthony and Joe Russo, also known as the Russo brothers, explain how they feel about the platform as creators. 

The Russo brothers have worked on many legendary projects, from the smash-hit Avengers movies to the legendary comedy series Community. Their next project, The Gray Man, hits Netflix on July 22nd after its theater run, and next year’s Extraction 2 is also scheduled to release on the streaming platform. And in an interview with The Hollywood ReporterThe pair explain how Netflix differs from the rest of the industry. 

When asked about The Gray Man’s theater run, Anthony Russo said: 

“This is big cinema. We made it for a theater. That’s how we shot it, how we styled it, and, on a technical level, how we supported it. But we like working with new partners. There’s something very energizing about bringing a movie like this out with Netflix. They think about ways of reaching audiences differently.”

Joe added that Netflix is “easier to work with than a traditional studio.” Before going on to explain that: 

“Their mentality is more the mentality of a tech company than a studio. They’re very hands-off. Nobody bothers you. They have a different approach to how they control the budget on the movie. It’s not as stressful as it is at a studio. There are a lot of positives to working with them. And I’d argue that I think digital distribution has fostered more diversity in the past five years than Hollywood has in a hundred. Because they’re regionally supported, they need to foster connection and talent in those regional markets. Of course, everything’s always driven by money — but that’s an important byproduct of a company like Netflix. Anthony and I are fairly disciplined in being agnostic about presentation. Extraction was watched 100 million times [on Netflix]. That’s the equivalent of a $2 billion movie in theatrical.”

When we worked with Marvel, we traveled the world for a decade. What that allows you is an understanding that goes beyond a Hollywood-centric point of view of how to create content. We’re agnostic about delivery. You know what might make everybody happy is Netflix starts doing 45-day windows and they have their giant digital distribution platform. Everybody wins. That feels like where it’s going.”

In a later part of the interview, Joe talks about Netflix’s financial and growth issues and denies that these issues represent an issue for the whole industry. He says:

“They still make billions of dollars. By the way, it’s OK for a company that was flush with cash during the tech spec boom to now be challenged to reconsider its model.”

Anthony adds to this, noting that: 

“There’s so much content spread over so many creators and providers that it almost doesn’t matter. If part of the model weakens, there are other parts of the model.”

This suggests that the pair are not worried about the future of film, be it their films or the films made by others, which is a good thing for the theater industry.