Netflix has hired Scott Stuber, former co-president of production at Universal Pictures, to oversee its films division, suggesting that its not just creative talent that is migrating towards the OTT space away from traditional media.
Stuber’s appointment is a game changer for the streaming giant, which until recently appeared to be lagging behind Amazon Studios in terms of premium movie content. But Netflix has been playing catch-up and Stuber will be taking over a slate that already includes high-profile titles such as David Michod’s War Machine, starring Brad Pitt; Bong Joon Ho’s Okja, with Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhall; and David Ayer’s Bright, starring Will Smith.
Netflix was also acquiring aggressively at the recent Sundance and Berlin film festivals, buying titles such as Dee Rees’ Mudbound (for which it paid a reported $12.5m), Marti Noxon’s To The Bone, Geremy Jasper’s directorial debut Patti Cake$ and Jim Strouse’s The Incredible Jessica James.
But bringing in Stuber to oversee acquisition, development and production means the streaming giant can move towards actually making movies, rather than acquiring completed films in the hothouse environment of a film market at a high price.
While at Universal, Stuber was responsible for films including the Fast & Furious franchise (pictured) and the Bourne franchise, along with more critically-acclaimed fare such as A Beautiful Mind. More recently, he ran his own production company, Bluegrass Films, which produced hits for Universal including Ted and Central Intelligence.
*Kuala Lumpur-based streaming platform iflix has also made a big hire in the past week, appointing Sean Carey as chief content officer, based in Los Angeles. Carey was previously vice president, global television, at Netflix where he was responsible for licensed TV series, kids and family content and co-productions in all territories.
Prior to Netflix, Carey held executive roles in strategic content, digital distribution and corporate development at Sony Corp and Sony Pictures Entertainment.