Once known for solely sending customers DVDs in the mail, Netflix over the past few years has quickly and impressively transitioned into a formidable media powerhouse. With a growing stable of exclusive content, Netflix isn’t afraid to take out its wallet and spend bucks on content it thinks will help grow its subscriber base even further.
Most recently, Netflix forked over an incredible amount of money to secure the exclusive rights to Brad Pitt’s upcoming movie War Machine, a film that will have Pitt take on the role of General Stanley A. McChrystal in what will reportedly be more of a comedy than a dramatic feature. For those unfamiliar, McChrystal resigned from the U.S. Army in 2010 after making unflattering remarks about Vice President Joe Biden in a Rolling Stone article.
While Netflix typically likes to keep the particulars of its content deals secret, The Hollywood Reporter relays that Netflix agreed to bankroll the film’s $60 million budget, handily making it Netflix’s biggest film investment yet.
According to the report, traditional movie studios balked at the film’s budget, prompting Pitt and his Plan B film production company to explore other avenues, a search which eventually led them to Netflix.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos was willing to pay the $60 million the filmmakers wanted, according to a knowledgeable insider, debunking reports that pegged the price at about half that. “It’s great for the specialty film business, since people might be more willing to see challenging, liberal-leaning material in the comfort of their own home [rather] than in a movie theater,” says a source close to the deal. “More people might actually see the movie this way.”
Without question, Netflix is following in the footsteps of HBO to the extent that it’s more than happy to spend top dollar to secure exclusive content. Underscoring Netflix’s increasing focus on developing its own content, The New York Times noted the following a few months back:
“Daredevil” is the 17th Netflix original series to make its debut this year, representing a bold bet by the company to significantly increase its investment in exclusive programming. Just three years after Netflix started streaming its first original series, “Lilyhammer,” the company is planning 320 hours of original programming in 2015. That is about three times what it offered last year.
As for Pitt’s film, War Machine is on track for a 2016 release, with filming slated to begin this August.