Scott Scuber is Netflix’s new head of feature films.
The streaming giant is stepping up its feature film production arm significantly with Stuber’s high-profile signing. Indeed, the former Universal exec was once courted to head up Paramount’s film division, notes THR, but he instead opted to join the online company.
Netflix is certainly making no secret of its ambitious movie plans. This year, the streaming service won its first Oscar for short documentary The White Helmets and it is already building on that success, with original films set to premiere this year including Brad Pitt’s War Machine and David Ayer’s Bright, starring Will Smith. The site is also currently in the middle of attempting to buy Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro. These are huge deals for the company, often involving hefty premiums and salary payouts – at the time, the agreement for Bright was pegged at around $90 million. Indeed, to date, the service has largely focused on snapping up buzzy titles at festivals, such as Sundance – this year, that included a not inconsiderate $12.5 million for Mudbound, which is already being touted as an Oscar contender.
Stuber, then, marks something of a change in gear: with his own production company Bluegrass Films on his CV, he’s been behind projects such as Cinderella Man, 8 Mile and the Bourne and Fast & Furious franchises. While Netflix has primarily based its feature-length output on acquiring films that are ready to go into production, Stuber has sizeable experience in developing projects from the ground up. He will lead development, production and acquisition for original films, using his existing relationships with talent and agents. If Netflix can also continue its efforts to get films into limited theatrical releases, appeasing filmmakers and qualifying for awards, Stuber can position Netflix as a legitimate studio rival – one with a built-in audience of 93 million in 190 countries around the world.
“Scott is well known and respected in the film industry. His innovative work and strong talent relationships should help accelerate the Netflix original film initiative as we enter into a new phase of big global productions with some of the greatest directors, actors and writers in the film business,” said Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in a statement.
“Netflix is at the forefront in changing the way entertainment is enjoyed throughout the world, bringing a greater variety of stories to more people than ever before,” added Stuber. “It’s an incredible opportunity to work with a company with such reach and that stands for such diverse quality content for global audiences.”