Ben Affleck slams Netflix as an “assembly line” and promises quality movies from his studio

It’s Batman vs Netflix.

Ben Affleck blasted the streaming powerhouse on Wednesday, likening Netflix to an “assembly line” producing content.

“If you ask [Netflix co-CEO and chairman] Reed Hastings … he said, ‘Hey, we chose quantity to establish a footprint,'” Affleck said at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, per Variety.

“I’m sure there’s wisdom in that and I’m sure they had a great strategy, but I would have said, ‘How are we going to make 50 great movies? How is that possible?’ There is no committee big enough. There isn’t enough – you just can’t do it.”

Affleck – who starred in Netflix’s 2019 dud Triple Frontier – emphasized that filmmaking “is a thing that takes attention, dedication and work, and it defies the kind of assembly line processes” that Netflix employs.

He praised Scott Stuber, head of original films at Netflix, as “a really talented, smart guy who I really like … but it’s an impossible job.”

Ben Affleck on stage
Ben Affleck has opened his own film studio with longtime collaborator Matt Damon.
Getty Images

Affleck also promoted his new production company with Matt Damon, Artists Equity, during Wednesday’s discussion. The “Gigli” star will serve as CEO, while Damon will take on the role of chief content officer. Affleck revealed the goal is to make high-quality commercial dishes that “people will remember 20 years later.”

The studio’s debut project is an Affleck-directed drama about Nike’s Hail Mary effort to sign rising superstar Michael Jordan – a blockbuster deal that launched the Air Jordan phenomenon.

Damon plays former Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro, who signed Jordan’s first sneaker deal. Affleck plays Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Viola Davis, Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker and Marlon Wayans also signed.

During Wednesday’s summit, Affleck also reflected on the state of the film industry and the cult of celebrity.

“On Netflix, the biggest movies are Christmas or those kinds of early riser stars,” he said. “They had a lot more exposure then than your kind of person does on a TV show now because there’s just so much to see. There’s a lot of investment that has gone into a lot of people my age, around that age.”

He then referred to his new wife, Jennifer Lopez, whose Netflix documentary Halftime dropped in June. She plays an assassin in The Mother, due out on Netflix in May.

“My wife, who is 53, the most famous, most admired, most spectacular woman in the world, there were no 53-year-old stars in the 1940s and 50s. That was it. And there wasn’t really for men [either]’ Affleck said. “Paul Newman was pretty old at 37. You read about Newman when you were 37, 38 and they said, ‘Well, if you go into the sunset of your life, Paul, after Towering Inferno…’

He concluded: “And now people are much more familiar with this group of people. You’ve maintained that level of awareness in a market so diffuse, where there’s increasing value in attracting attention, attracting attention, and getting the consumer to watch you.” Ben Affleck slams Netflix as an “assembly line” and promises quality movies from his studio

Emma Bowman

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