Netflix CEO Reed Hastings doesn’t care about the haters.
While taking a victory lap on Monday afternoon, as he discussed his company’s standout Q4 earnings, the executive said he wasn’t thrown off by the tepid reviews received by “Bright” — its recent big-budget Will Smith release.
“The critics are pretty disconnected from the mass appeal,” said Hastings on Monday’s earnings call, adding, “considering we’re moving internationally at this point, and most of those critical reviews are English language and just U.S.”
In other words: If it gets views, we don’t care.
“Bright” pulled in 11 million views for the streaming heavyweight in the first three days following its December release. But it was also pillaged by critics, who gave it a 26 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. Echoing Hastings, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said that measure — rather than critical acclaim — is what they have their focus on.
“Critics are an important part of the kind of artistic process, but they’re pretty disconnected from the commercial prospects of a film,” said Sarandos on Monday’s call. “If people are watching this movie and loving it, that is the measurement of success.”
Netflix posted a banner quarter earlier on Monday, reporting a record 8.33 million new subscribers. Shares of its stock jumped more than 8 percent in after-hours trading following the news, reaching a new all-time high just shy of $250 a share.
Moving forward, Hastings said more high-profile projects like “Bright” will be in the works.
“The real driver is to make the big titles bigger,” said Hastings. “What happens is, so many people are talking about ‘Bright’ or ‘Stranger Things 2’ or ‘The Crown,’ that that’s what pulls in people that haven’t yet joined. That’s the dominant accelerator.”