Triple Frontier has all the classic elements of a blockbuster action movie. There’s several big explosions, beautiful women who become double agents and grisly former soldiers gone rogue.
It’s exactly the type of film you’d expect from huge stars such as Justice League’s Ben Affleck and Star Wars’ Oscar Isaac. But even though it’s received positive critical reviews, you won’t be able to see it in theaters. You can, however, stream it on Netflix from the comfort of your bed.
It’s not that these stars have fallen to the lowly realm of Netflix original films — Netflix is taking streaming to the next level, finding a way to reach new audiences by skipping over the theaters and going straight to your laptop. Legally.
Of course, you already know this. Over the last few years, legal streaming platforms have entered the game of producing original content and buying the sole rights as distributor. Critically acclaimed Netflix original Roma won several Oscars, Golden Globes and British Academy Film awards.
Some big-time directors and producers are working alongside Netflix. The production company for Triple Frontier, Atlas Entertainment, has Wonder Woman and the Dark Knight trilogy under its belt.
All of this has sparked more than just jealousy. Other people in the industry want to separate Netflix movies from other films.
Steven Spielberg doesn’t just want to be distanced from Netflix — he thinks movies released through the platform don’t deserve to be considered for awards at all. He wants to remove films that don’t spend at least four weeks in theaters from consideration for Oscars.
Spielberg’s petition probably won’t go anywhere; the efficiency and popularity of streaming is a force to be reckoned with. But his proposal proves that Netflix films have the power to shake up the industry — and one of its most successful directors.
There is a notorious gap in the quality of Netflix productions. I’m sure you watched Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Bird Box and Stranger Things, but have you heard of Mascots? Or The Discovery? Don’t bother watching them unless you want to waste your time, but clearly, not all Netflix films are created equal. They seem to either take over the internet or go unnoticed.
Netflix has apparently learned that if it churns out as much content as possible, a few will stick. And its awkward position as a middle man, a distributor and a production team helps disperse the blame if its films do fail.
But Netflix’s recent successes may be a product of the risks it’s willing to take. Netflix dug deep into its pockets to advertise for Roma, a film starring a first-time actress, and the risk paid off with three Oscars.
Jenny Han, author of the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, brought her story to life with Netflix in part because other producers weren’t willing to cast an Asian-American actress as main character Lara Jean. But the movie ended up as one of the most rewatched movies on Netflix in 2018.
As the quantity of Netflix films continues to increase, there are many paths for the quality of its content to follow. But unless Spielberg gets his way, Netflix’s growing presence in the award circuit doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.