Ben Affleck is probably not going to make a sequel to Triple Frontier. The two-time Oscar winner slammed Netflix on Wednesday, criticizing the "assembly line process" for the streamer's original movies. Affleck's comments came just days after he joined Matt Damon and RedBird Captial Partners to launch a new production company, Artists Equity.
During the New York Times' DealBook Summit in New York City, Affleck said he saw no reason why a movie could not be both commercial and a quality project. He belies this is in contrast with Netflix's strategy of putting out dozens of movies a year and sacrificing quality. Even though Affleck has respect for Netflix co-CEO and films chief Scott Stuber, he believes it is impossible to make sure every movie is great when Reed Hastings wants to put out so many projects.
"If you ask Reed Hastings ... I'm sure there's some risk 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," Affleck said, reports Deadline. "There aren't enough – you just can't do it. It's a thing that requires attention and dedication and works and resists the assembly line process. Scott Stuber is a really talented, smart guy who I really like... but it's an impossible job."
Affleck admitted that there is a bigger audience for action movies compared to dramas, but he does not think that means studios should give up on challengings audiences. "Certain genres play more broadly and you can't not be mindful of that," he said. "But let's do a good one, let's surprise the audience, let's make them care about it."
"The first wave of streaming was about volume," RedBird Capital founder Gerry Cardinale added. "The second wave is about quality."
Affleck, Damon, and Cardinale announced Artists Equity on Nov. 20. Cardinale reportedly committed at least $100 million to fund the project. Affleck will be the CEO and Damon is the chief content officer. Michael Joe, a former executive at Universal Pictures and STX Films, will serve as chief operating officer. The goal is to "build a creator-focused studio that can optimize the production process with shared participation in the commercial success of projects," Affleck said in a statement to Variety.
The venture comes as more stars have expressed frustration with the revenue they see from streamers. Affleck told the New York Times that Artists Equity will try to "recapture" the lost value of the hard work artists put into films. "I know what kind of freedoms artists long for and how they can be empowered – treated like grown-ups," Affleck said.
The first Artists Equity film will be Affleck's still-untitled movie about Sonny Vaccaro, a sneaker salesman who convinced Michael Jordan to work with Nike in the 1980s. Damon plays Vaccaro and Affleck stars as Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Affleck is set to direct the movie, which was produced with Skydance Sports, Mandalay Pictures, and Amazon Studios. Artists Equity will release three projects in 2023, with up to five per year in the future, Affleck told the Times.