In recent years, film fans have watched as Netflix has consistently begun to snatch up A-list talent for major films and TV series. However, even though the streaming service has a seemingly endless bank account, when it comes to paying actors, producers, directors, and others, the service is actually quite limited. But with a new bonus structure that is being reported could bring with it a more competitive playing field for Netflix.
The current system in Hollywood for paying huge talent usually involves a fee upfront, combined with a back-end deal where the actors, producers, directors, etc… get a portion of the profits. This is why the salaries of the folks that star in the ‘Avengers’ films get paydays that reportedly top $50 million. But with Netflix, since there’s no box office to speak of, the company has previously only relied on large sums of money given upfront, with the company financing a project and giving producers and other cast and crew payment on top of that.
This situation has led many to say that Netflix will never be able to offer deals on par with traditional studios like Disney and Warner Bros. because of the lack of back-end money.
However, with a new report from Bloomberg, it appears that Netflix is taking steps to make the playing field more level between the streaming service and the other major studios by offering new bonuses for cast and crew that could act as a replacement for profit-sharing deals.
The report states that the exact bonuses and qualifying metrics are yet to be determined. However, Bloomberg said, “A prestige film might have its incentive pegged to how many awards it wins. Bonuses for other movies could be based on viewership.”
If this structure is what Netflix is looking at moving forward, filmmakers like Alfonso Cuaron, whose “Roma” was relatively inexpensive for Netflix and ended up paying huge dividends when it came to awards season, could be seeing some bonuses in the future. Also, when you have films like the upcoming “Six Underground” or “The Irishman,” which are expected to leverage their star power for high viewership, people like Michael Bay, Martin Scorsese, and the A-list actors could see a nice little bump in pay if that pans out.
This year, alone, the streaming service has no shortage of films vying for awards consideration, including new films from Steven Soderbergh, Noah Baumbach, Craig Brewer, and more.
Of course, there’s a lot that is still unknown. Will Netflix shell out tens-of-millions of dollars for talents like Robert Downey, Jr, like what he saw on the ‘Avengers’ films? Or is there going to be a cap to these bonuses that will put the streaming service at a disadvantage? We shall see.
At least for now, it appears that Netflix is working on some way to better compensate its talent.