Ben Affleck slams Netflix ‘assembly line,’ vows quality films from his studio


It’s Batman v. Netflix.

Ben Affleck blasted the streaming powerhouse Wednesday, comparing Netflix to an “assembly line” churning out content.

“If you ask [Netflix co-CEO and chairman] Reed Hastings…he’d say, ‘Hey, we went for quantity to establish a footprint,’” Affleck said at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, per Variety.

“I’m sure there’s wisdom in that, and I’m sure they had a great strategy, but I would have said, ‘How are we going to make 50 great movies? How is that possible?’ There’s no committee big enough. There aren’t enough — you just can’t do it.”

Affleck — who starred in Netflix’s 2019 dud “Triple Frontier” — emphasized that making movies “is a thing that requires attention and dedication and work, and it resists the sort of assembly line process” that Netflix employs.

He praised Scott Stuber, Netflix’s head of original films, as a “really talented, smart guy who I really like… but it’s an impossible job.”

Ben Affleck has started his own movie studio with longtime collaborator Matt Damon.
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Affleck also promoted his new production company with Matt Damon, Artists Equity, during Wednesday’s discussion. The “Gigli” star will serve as CEO, while Damon’s role is chief content officer. Affleck revealed the goal is to produce quality commercial fare that “people remember 20 years later.”

The studio’s debut project is a drama Affleck’s directing about Nike’s Hail Mary efforts to sign rising superstar Michael Jordan — a blockbuster deal that spawned the Air Jordan phenomenon.

Damon plays former Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro, who inked Jordan’s first sneaker deal. Affleck stars as Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Viola Davis, Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker and Marlon Wayans have signed on as well.

During Wednesday’s summit, Affleck also mused on the state of the movie industry and the cult of celebrity.

“On Netflix, the biggest movies are Christmas, or these kind of early aughts stars,” he opined. “They had a level of awareness then that is much bigger than your sort of person on a TV show does now because there’s just so much to see. There’s a lot of investment that’s gone into a lot of people my age, around that age.”

He then referenced his new wife Jennifer Lopez, whose Netflix documentary, “Halftime,” dropped in June. She plays an assassin in “The Mother,” due out on Netflix in May.

“My wife, who’s 53, the most famous, admired, spectacular woman in the world, there weren’t 53-year-old stars in the 1940s and ’50s. That was it. And there weren’t really for men [either],” Affleck said. “Paul Newman was kind of old at 37. You read about Newman at 37, 38 and they were like, ‘Well, as you move into the sunset of your life, Paul, after ‘Towering Inferno’….”

He concluded: “And now people are much more familiar with this group of people. They’ve kept that name recognition in a marketplace that is so diffuse where it’s more and more and more valuable to be able to attract eyeballs, to be able to get attention, to be able to get the consumer to watch you.”

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