Fresh off the heels of The Irishman’s streaming debut, head of Netflix films Scott Stuber took the stage during the Variety Innovate Summit in West Hollywood, Calif., on Dec. 5 to reveal new insight on the streamer’s growing presence in the theatrical space.

According to him, that presence serves a dual purpose that’s untapped by other production studios.

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“We’re trying to build a brand new ecosystem that gives new movies and filmmakers a chance,” he said.

However, Stuber notes that Netflix is attempting to grow its film business without existing IP or “pre-conditioned” audiences. That’s why it’s focusing on higher quality content from both established and budding creators.

“You need to bring a new person who’s vibrant in this world and let them explode, because there are so many good voices in this business,” he said.

It’s also the reason Netflix keeps its data under wraps, especially as the company experiments with theatrical releases prior to streaming. According to Stuber, the decision to keep its numbers private is an effort to protect the film, filmmaker and “full business story” knowing that it will still premiere on Netflix.

“It’s a brand-new business,” he said. “It’s not about being fearful, it’s about getting good at it. Our business is not just theatrical, it’s about how many people watch it [via streaming].”

But Netflix may soon release this information, he said, as they “find the right hybrid of how things fit for the business.”

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This past year alone, Netflix is debuting big titles like The Laundromat, Marriage Story and The Irishman, which recently garnered attention for reportedly costing nearly $160 million. But despite its growth in the film industry, Netflix has no intention to abandon production on original shows and miniseries.

“The trick is, how do they coexist? As a company, we’ve continued to grow in that space to show that you can coexist and have both,” he said.


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