Netflix: Are these big-budget flops driving people away from Netflix?

Netflix: Are these big-budget flops driving people away from Netflix?

Synopsis

Netflix, once the seemingly indestructible streaming juggernaut in an industry it helped create from the ground up, has exhibited hints of vulnerability for the first time in its history.

Netflix: Are these big-budget flops driving people away from Netflix?
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Netflix, once the seemingly indestructible streaming juggernaut in an industry it helped create from the ground up, has exhibited hints of vulnerability for the first time in its history.

In just three months, the streaming powerhouse has lost 200,000 customers, and shareholders in the US corporation have been told that another two million will quit in the three months leading up to July.

The company’s decision to pull out of Russia in the aftermath of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to executives, played a part, as did a second price hike in a year.

Competition in the streaming industry has risen considerably as a result of the quick expansion of rival Disney+, which has seen billions of dollars invested in recent years.

People have also turned away from Netflix in favour of alternative services like as Amazon Prime Video, which has a share of the live football market in the UK, and AppleTV+, which has enjoyed success thanks to football comedian Ted Lasso.

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Meanwhile, Netflix has been accused of liberal excess, with outspoken Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk declaring yesterday that the ‘awake mind infection’ was making the streaming service ‘unwatchable.’

But perhaps the most serious issue is that a streaming service that previously drew in viewers with critically acclaimed original series like Stranger Things, House of Cards, and Orange Is The New Black now faces a content crisis.

The streaming service, which is currently competing with Disney+ blockbuster series The Mandalorian, which costs $15 million per episode, looks to be banking its hopes on its own big-budget exclusives.

However, several of them, like Red Notice, the studio’s most expensive project to date, and the recently released Anatomy of a Scandal, have been panned by critics, despite being well-received.

Netflix is also facing a large spend in the form of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, after agreeing to a $100 million deal with them in September 2020.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have yet to generate any publicly available content for the streaming behemoth. However, the corporation will be betting that their planned series recording the recent Invictus Games will be worthwhile.

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Despite its recent problems, the streaming service has had some hits, with dystopian Korean series Squid Game proving a massive hit and season one of period drama Bridgerton sweeping the globe.

BOL News examines Netflix’s recent hits as well as its costly misses:

Anatomy of a Scandal – Miss

Anatomy of a Scandal

Anatomy of a Scandal has been a huge flop for Netflix, despite being widely promoted and even more brutally trashed. With a stellar ensemble lead by Sienna Miller and Rupert Friend, expectations were high for the six-part drama, which tells the fictional story of an MP and a scandal involving his aide.

The series follows Sophie Whitehouse, the fictional British MP James Whitehouse’s wife, and is based on Sarah Vaughan’s novel of the same name.

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She discovers that her husband has been having an affair with an aide, which turns into a major scandal that rips their marriage apart.

The series has a costly production and comes from the creator of Big Little Lies, thus it features a stellar cast. However, critics have panned it, with Ben Dowell of the New York Times describing it as having “clunky strands of dialogue” and “symbolism that falls on you like a ten-tonne Acme weight falling on Wile E Coyote.”

Other reviewers have called it “poorly executed,” “brutally silly,” and “borderline criminal dialogue.” The show, however, has proven to be a hit, debuting at number one in the United Kingdom and reaching in the top ten worldwide.

Red Notice – Miss

Red Notice

If you follow wrestler turned actor The Rock on social media, you might believe that Red Notice is a smash hit. And you wouldn’t be wrong in terms of viewership.

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The expensive-looking, A-list cast, lavishly promoted crime comedy became the most popular film on Netflix in just 11 days.

The picture, which was largely shot on sets in Atlanta, Georgia, but covers a variety of exotic locations, is Netflix’s most expensive venture to date, costing more than $250 million.

It stars The Rock as an Interpol agent on the trail of the world’s finest – or second best – art thief, Ryan Reynolds, who is routinely outshone by Gal Gadot’s elusive ‘Bishop.’

Reynolds and Gadot race to reunite the three bejewelled and valuable eggs formerly gifted to Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra, which leads them to Argentina, where they attempt to steal a hidden Nazi stronghold.

Isn’t this all a little ridiculous? That’s what the critics believed, at least. Despite its high budget, A-list cast, and widespread distribution, the picture was panned by critics, with some criticising the writing as “tangled” and the characters as “lacking personality.”

“Don’t need Elon musk to tell me Netflix is becoming unwatchable, been thinking about dropping it for a while, even their big name movies are s**t. Red Notice was one of the worst movies I’ve ever watched, if I could’ve given it a 2 thumbs down, I’d have done so.” one Twitter user wrote.

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Marco Polo – Miss

Marco Polo

On Netflix, ‘hate-watching’ has become quite the craze. It occurs when a viewer views something commonly perceived as horrible solely to see how bad it actually is – and occasionally to like it.

Take Emily in Paris, for example. Despite the fact that the tongue-in-cheek comedy has a large following, many people have claimed to have ‘hate-watched’ two seasons of the programme, which is currently one of Netflix’s most popular.

Marco Polo, on the other hand, was the Netflix ‘hate-watch’ special before Emily in Paris. The series is based on the true story of Marco Polo, a Venetian merchant and adventurer who travels across Europe and Asia until ending up as a prisoner in the palace of Kublai Khan, a 13th century Mongolian monarch.

The series, which aired from 2014 to 2016, had a reputed $10 million per episode budget with performers such as Marvel actor Benedict Wong and Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy.

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However, reviewers lambasted it, including Lenika Cruz of The Atlantic, who said: “A big budget, high hopes, and good intentions it seems wasn’t enough to buoy a boring protagonist and flaccid story.”

Despite the panning, the audience score was an astounding 94%, indicating that it was well received by the crowd.

He’s Expecting – Miss

He's Expecting

He’s Expecting has already generated a stir, albeit it’s a little early to say because it was only released today. The Japanese drama is based on a manga series and depicts the story of a man who becomes pregnant.

Kentaro Hiyama, a 32-year-old elite salaryman who becomes pregnant unexpectedly, is played by Takumi Saitoh. He decides to keep the child in order to influence people’s opinions about male pregnancy.

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The series, which is based on a manga book set in a bizarre universe where men are the ones who bear babies, isn’t nearly the ‘woke’ spectacle that some fans have imagined it to be.

‘Netflix shares are down 25% this morning,’ stated actor turned political party founder Laurence Fox, who shared a photo of the main male character with his baby belly and commented on Twitter: ‘Netflix shares are down 25% this morning. For the life of me,   can’t think why…’

It’ll also do little to quell Musk’s allegations that the ‘woke mind virus’ is affecting Netflix.

Squid Game – Hit

Squid Game

The Korean survival thriller was never expected to be as popular as it was, with Netflix calling its meteoric rise in popularity as “mind-boggling.”

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Siren Pictures produced the show, which depicts deeply indebted characters going on life-or-death challenges in order to win a large cash prize, and it cost $21.4 million to produce, or around $2.4 million per episode.

However, it rocketed to the top of the Netflix charts, with at least 132 million people watching at least two minutes of the show in the first 23 days of its broadcast, smashing the previous record established by another hit, Bridgerton.

During that time, at least 87 million people, or around 66% of Netflix’s total watchers, finished the series, and viewers watched Squid Games for a total of 1.4 billion hours. The show is thought to have brought Netflix £655 million in revenue.

In addition, the series received positive reviews, with a 94 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and a four-star rating from Empire.

Bridgerton – Hit

Bridgerton

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Drama set in the Victorian era. The on-screen romance between Regé-Jean Page’s heartthrob Duke of Hastings and Phoebe Dynevor’s target of his affections, Daphne Bridgeton, got hearts racing in Bridgerton.

Fans were amazed by the lavish period costumes and depiction of upper-class Regency courtship in the first season, which cost roughly $7 million per episode.

Criticizers raved, describing it as ‘witty, daring and refreshing’ and it was a smash hit success, with more than 625.5million hours of viewing across Netflix – a record that would later be smashed by Squid Games.

Its second season, according to the Guardian’s Jack Seal, was “still weeter and fizzier than rival period dramas, but without Regé-Jean Page, it’s no longer a heady, horny and impetuous watch.”

However, there has been appreciation for Simone Ashley, Jonathan Bailey’s portrayal of Viscount Bridgerton’s true love interest, while audience figures have remained solid – more than 627 million people have watched the second season since it premiered on March 25.

Stranger Things – Hit

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Stranger Things

Stranger Things is arguably “the” smash that cemented Netflix’s position as a destination for exclusive entertainment. Previously, the streaming service was best known for airing older episodes from other networks, such as Breaking Bad.

Stranger Things, along with House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, helped Netflix advance in the exclusive content market.

From 2016 to 2019, the science fiction horror thriller, which follows a group of adolescent friends as they encounter otherworldly forces and secret government operations, aired for three seasons and has now been renewed for two more.

Each episode cost roughly $8 million to produce. However, it was warmly lauded by critics and received numerous honours, including a Screen Actors Guild award, six Emmy nominations, and four Golden Globe nominations, with its last season attracting roughly 40 million viewers worldwide.

It also helped establish the career of Millie Bobby Brown, a British actress who played Eleven in the first three seasons of the show.

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