'Just As Big An Audience': Ted Sarandos Believes Barbie And Oppenheimer Would've Been Equally Successful On Netflix

Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos believes blockbuster hits like Barbie and Oppenheimer would have attracted equally large audiences on streaming. He also emphasized the platform's reach and potential for high-quality content.

Published on May 27, 2024  |  05:16 PM IST |  35.2K
IMDb
Barbie and Oppenheimer collected more than $2 billion on Box Office (IMDb)

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos believes that the 2023 summer blockbusters Barbie and Oppenheimer would have "enjoyed just as big an audience" on the streamer as they did in theaters.

While discussing the operations of the streaming giant with the New York Times, especially what kind of content is suited for it, Sarandos said, “I don't think that there's a clean answer because the best versions of something may work really well for Netflix but just hasn't worked to date. There's some obvious ones, like we don't do breaking news and that kind of thing, because I think there's a lot of other outlets for it. People aren't looking to us for that.”

When the NYT reporter pointed out the theatrical releases of Barbie and Oppenheimer, which both had colossal businesses and spawned the cultural phenomenon Barbienheimer, asking, “Are there things that just don't feel like they're in your wheelhouse right now?” Sarandos confidently replied, “Both of those movies would be great for Netflix.”

“They definitely would have enjoyed just as big an audience on Netflix,” he added.

More on the hypothetical situation of Barbienheimer being a Netflix original is discussed below.

‘There’s no reason to believe that the movie itself is better in any size of screen’ — Ted Sarandos


“I don't think there's any reason to believe that certain kinds of movies do or don’t work. There's no reason to believe that the movie itself is better on any size of screen for all people,” said Sarandos, and, to really send his message home, the Netflix co-CEO used a very personal example.

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“My son’s an editor. He is 28 years old, and he watched Lawrence of Arabia on his phone."

Sarandos' comments come in the wake of an impressive box office run for both films. Barbie, produced by Warner Bros and helmed by Greta Gerwig, raked in $1.44 billion globally, while Universal’s Oppenheimer by Christopher Nolan accumulated $951 million.

According to Sarandos, Netflix originals are attracting the ‘biggest audiences in the world’ 

Following Scott Stuber’s exit as film chairman, the Netflix co-CEO, in January, said that the streamer does not plan to change its “strategy or the mix [of licensed and original film],” because Netflix’s original movies “are attracting some of the biggest audiences in the world.”

“It’s always going to be that kind of blend of first window, second window, and deep catalog,” Sarandos asserted. “We think that formula works best to entertain the world.”

FAQ

Who is Ted Sarandos?
Ted Sarandos is the co-CEO and Chief Content Officer of Netflix, responsible for the streaming giant’s content and creative operations.

What did Ted Sarandos say about Barbie and Oppenheimer?
Ted Sarandos stated that the 2023 summer blockbusters Barbie and Oppenheimer would have enjoyed just as big an audience on Netflix as they did in theaters.

How successful were Barbie and Oppenheimer in theaters?
Barbie, produced by Warner Bros and directed by Greta Gerwig, grossed $1.44 billion globally, while Universal’s Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, earned $951 million.

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