Netflix Hires Former Fox Exec Spencer Klein to Bolster Theatrical Film Division

The streamer has made recent moves showing a willingness to relax its approach to theatrical releases

Netflix has hired former Fox executive Spencer Klein to serve as the streaming giant’s director of distribution on Tuesday.

Klein was former Fox distribution head Chris Aronson’s No. 2 at the studio before Disney began laying off employees following its $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox’s film and TV assets.

Klein, who will oversee Netflix’s distribution as it attempts to operate more like a full-fledged Hollywood studio, will report directly to Netflix’s head of film Scott Stuber.

In addition to Klein, the streamer has retained theatrical distribution veteran Lori Bandazian from Lionsgate as a New York-based consultant and the company extended the role of former Warner Bros. distribution chief Dan Fellman, who joined last year to help with, among other things, Netflix’s release of its Oscar-winning film “Roma.”

Netflix has consistently been criticized for its release strategy that often does not include a theatrical run, instead, focusing on day-and-date releases. However, Netflix has recently shown some willingness to reevaluate its strategy.

Ahead of its Oscar campaigns for “Roma” and “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Netflix debuted both films, along with “Bird Box,” in select theaters before streaming on its platform. The studio still received backlash throughout its awards campaign, however, for not abiding by traditional theatrical release models.

In January, Netflix joined the Motion Picture Association of America, Hollywood’s most devoted advocate for major film studios in Washington.

“Joining the Motion Picture Association further exemplifies our commitment to ensuring the vibrancy of these creative industries and the many talented people who work in them all over the world,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said at the time. “We look forward to supporting the association team and their important efforts.”

Klein, his previous post, oversaw the theatrical sales for all Fox releases in the U.S. and Canada. Over his 20-year career in the film business, Klein held positions in both exhibition and distribution. He began his career in film at New Line Cinema in New York City and moved into exhibition at Loews Cineplex Entertainment as a film buyer while earning his MBA from Fordham University in 2005. Klein then transitioned back to distribution at The Weinstein Company as general sales manager, overseeing sales and research.