Netflix released at least one movie a week over the past two years, but for 2023, the company is changing course. According to Bloomberg, the streaming giant is restructuring its movie division and releasing fewer movies overall. Netflix will combine the team working on small projects with a budget $30 million or less and the unit that produces mid-budget films that cost $30 million to $80 million to make. The restructuring will result in a "handful" of layoffs — the company didn't specify a number — and the departure of two notable executives. Lisa Nishimura, who oversees documentaries like Tiger King and small budget films, as well as VP for film Ian Bricke are both leaving the company after over a decade.
As Bloomberg notes, Netflix ramped up its film development efforts after studios started building their own streaming services instead of licensing their movies to the company. In addition to the units working on small and mid-budget films, Netflix has one more division developing big-budget projects. It's unclear if the last group is also affected by the restructuring.
Despite the sheer number of titles Netflix previously released, only a few had won accolades, had reached millions of hours of streaming, or had the kind of cultural impact some of the biggest blockbusters had achieved. (According to the company's Top 10 page, its most watched movies for 2021 and 2022 include Red Notice, Don't Look Up and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.) Netflix Film chief Scott Stuber reportedly decided to cut down on the titles the service is releasing this year so he could ensure that the division is producing more high-quality projects.
Stuber didn't say how many people are losing their jobs from the shakeup, but the numbers are supposed to be smaller than the layoffs that happened at the company last year. Netflix implemented job cuts before many of its rivals in the film, TV and entertainment space did. HBO and HBO Max had to let some production staff members go as part of a larger Warner Bros. Discovery restructuring back in August, while Disney recently announced that it's laying off 7,000 workers, including those involved with media and distribution.