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What Will Spell Success for Netflix and Streaming in 2023?

Photo by Dima Solomin via Unsplash

What Will Spell Success for Netflix and Streaming in 2023?

By Movieguide® Staff

Recent headlines are skeptical of the success of Netflix’s 2023 slate of movies and for streaming as a whole.

Vulture recently published an article titled, ‘Do Any of Netflixs 2023 Movies Know When a Movie Feels Like a Movie?’ while Wired addressed a similar concern in their article, ‘Netflix’s 2023 Movies Illustrate a Sad Fact About Streaming.’

But why?

According to mainstream outlets, the upcoming list of action movies and rom-coms are formulaic and lack heart.

“They all feel even more generic somehow, like the Kirkland-label versions of movies,” Vulture’s Rebecca Alter wrote.

Wired reported:

But, when you’re Netflix, you’re setting the tone, making the cultural artifacts of the era. Sure, every studio needs to produce a few sure-fire people-pleasers a year, but one of the early promises of Netflix—and of streaming broadly—was that it would provide a platform for independent films, for the wicked and strange. Yes, those movies still exist on Netflix, somewhere, but they’re not the ones that get hyped in sizzle reels. If these are the must-see movies of 2023, the ones viewers are supposed to set their watches by, it’s already shaping up to be a fairly by-the-numbers year.

…it seems as though streaming is continuing to lose its edge—at a time when it really could be making a point.

However, the box office numbers from 2022 proved that the “wicked and strange” is not what the largest audiences want to see on screen.

In actuality, people want streaming platforms to act as a more accessible version of the theatrical experience—even when it comes to its content.

According to Screen Rush, the majority of Netflix most-watched movies in 2022 were uplifting, moral, or pro-family movies that strayed away from excessive immorality.

For example, of Netflix’s top ten original movies for 2022—as listed by Screen Rush—seven contained some moral or uplifting themes.

Here is Screen Rush’s list with Movieguide®’s content score:

  1. THE GRAY MAN (-3)
  2. THE ADAM PROJECT (-2)
  3. PURPLE HEARTS (-2)
  4. HUSTLE (-2)
  5. THE TINDER SWINDLER (-2)
  6. THE SEA BEAST (-1)
  7. ENOLA HOLMES 2 (-1)
  8. SENIOR YEAR (-4)
  9. THE MAN FROM TORONTO (-2)
  10. DAY SHIFT (-3)

At Movieguide®, seven of the movies scored a -2 or higher for their content rating while only three had -3 or below.

THE SEA BEAST and ENOLA HOLMES 2 scored highest with -1’s, while SENIOR YEAR scored the lowest earning a -4.

However, if Netflix or the industry’s top streamers want to turn a profit, they should look to incorporate morality into their movies instead of immorality.

Movieguide® previously reported on the 2022 theatrical box office:

While 2022 saw a substantial increase in box office revenue from the roller coaster year of 2020, exhibitors are still working out how to get audiences back to their theaters.

Alamo Drafthouse’s lead film programmer Sarah Pitre notes that the box office remains uncertain.

“We’re doing everything we can to bring people back to the movies,” Pitre said. “We’re passionate about movies, and we want to do more to maximize the content we’re showing. It’s about rebuilding that relationship with our customers.”

“It was definitely a rebound year,” Tearlach Hutcheson, VP of film at Studio Movie Grill added. “There’s still a lack of product from studios, and it’s going to take a while to change that.”

However, for major studios like Walt Disney Studios, a ‘lack of product’ is not entirely to blame for their box office woes.

Disney’s STRANGE WORLD bombed at the box office and LIGHTYEAR also faltered, becoming one of Pixar’s weakest releases to date, despite its popular IP. Both are expected to cost the company over $100M in losses according to Variety.

While Disney’s comic book movies continued to sit atop the box office charts—BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, and THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER—only DOCTOR STRANGE cracked the top half of all Marvel movies for global box office numbers.

Read More: Why the Mighty Marvel Movies Are Starting to Fall

In contrast, studios that were thought to be on their way out as major players, skyrocketed in 2022.

Paramount’s TOP GUN: MAVERICK carried the studio back into contention as one of the top studios. Paramount supplemented their massive success of TOP GUN with stable family-friendly outings such as SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2.

Read More: How Studios Failed Family Audiences in 2022