How Ben Affleck Aims to Do the Opposite of Netflix

By Jessica Lerner 

Ben Affleck has some ideas for the launch of his new production studio Artists Equity. One of them is to do to the opposite of Netflix’s “assembly line process.”

He said at The New York Times’ DealBook Summit that Netflix’s approach, which results in hundreds of titles per year, makes it “impossible” to produce a lot of high-quality content.

“If you ask [Netflix co-CEO and chairman] Reed Hastings…he’d say, ‘Hey, we went for quantity to establish a footprint,’” he said. “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’s no committee big enough. There aren’t enough — you just can’t do it.”


In 2022 and 2021, Netflix spent $17 billion on programming, and it expects to spend at least that amount in 2023.

Affleck, who starred in Netflix’s flop Triple Frontier in 2019, said that making movies “is a thing that requires attention and dedication and work and it resists the sort of assembly line process” that Netflix uses.

With Artists Equity, he plans to make quality films with commercial appeal, seeing no difference between the two.

He said he admires Netflix’s head of original films Scott Stuber, describing him as a “really talented, smart guy,” but noted “it’s an impossible job.”

“There’s bigger audience for action movies than there is for small dramas. I get that,” he said. “Certain genres play more broadly and you can’t not be mindful of that. But let’s do a good one, let’s surprise the audience, let’s make them care about it.”