Fox Film Chief Stacey Snider Says Netflix Offers Not ‘One Distinct Advantage’ to Filmmakers

The studio boss took on streaming giants at an investor conference Thursday

Stacey Snider expected to leave DreamWorks when her contract ends
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Twentieth Century Fox CEO Stacey Snider emphatically rejected a “Netflix and chill” cinematic future at an investor conference Thursday, saying the streaming giants writing monster checks at festivals offer not “one distinct advantage” to filmmakers.

“If you step back on a macro perspective, I truly do not believe there is one distinct advantage that the FANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) offer to filmmakers,” Snider said at Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2017 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference conference in Beverly Hills.

Snider said for TV creators, there was a significant advantage: binging. But an equivalent does not exist for movies on those services.

“There’s nothing better about watching a film on Netflix and Amazon,” she said. “There just isn’t. You can’t find them.”

“There’s nothing wonderful about having your upside opportunity kept and commoditized,” she added.

Snider believes that talent will soon “be wising up that Netflix making 50 films a year is not an advantage.” And she said there’s no buzz around the movies that smaller traditional distributors — like Fox’s Searchlight imprint — have been routinely outbid for at film festivals. She acknowledged that Searchlight is in the process of changing its strategy so it’s not subject to “whatever pressures they were feeling from Amazon and Netflix jacking up the prices.”

“I couldn’t find the Netflix movies that we were all supposed to be upset about that went to Netflix,” Snider said. “Point to an article or campaign that gets me excited,” she challenged.

Snider, who called the current film windowing setup “anachronistic” at the Code Media conference in February, also expounded on that on Thursday, reiterating her support for some form of premium video on demand that would deliver theatrical releases to home consumers sooner — for a higher price.

“Our focus is to bring the windows forward in a variable way,” Snider said.

And she believes it will open doors for a “brand new consumer,” and not cannibalize existing home entertainment fans.

“It’s the way you go to Postmates. You’ve not forsaken restaurants, I’d imagine, but there are times you just want to eat at home.”

Snider also commented on this summer’s box office slump, saying “sequel fatigue is real,” and it is incumbent on the industry to be more creative in building out its franchises. She was “heartened” by China’s summer bounce — but that was mostly due to one (domestic) film, “Wolf Warrior 2.” And Fox has “Avatar” sequels are coming out in 2020 and 2021, she said.

“What happens when we offer ‘Ice Age 5?’” she said. “We get crushed. What happens when we find an extension to the X-Men universe called ‘Deadpool?’ We do great.”