The price of gold Monday closed at $1,463 an ounce. For Netflix, it cost much more.
The streaming service scored some major street cred on Hollywood Boulevard Monday with the announcement of the Golden Globe Awards, landing 17 nominations – which is a record for one film company. Martin Scorsese’s much-celebrated mob drama, “The Irishman,” was nominated for “Best Motion Picture Drama” as was “Marriage Story” and “Two Popes.” In the “Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy” Eddie Murphy’s “Dolemite Is My Name” earned a nomination giving Netflix four out of 10 spots.
Production budgets are not available for “Dolemite” and “Two Popes.” But the final bill for the other three nominations puts Netflix’s bill for the gold nominations at $200 million. “The Irishman” with its “de-aging” technology and heavy location shooting cost $170 million; “Marriage Story” came in at $18 million and “Dolemite” tallied $12 million.
And if you want to throw in the TV side, “The Crown” -- with three nominations including “Best Drama” -- add another $130 million to the Golden Globes bill (the series costs $13 million per episode with 10 episodes in a season).
All told Netflix collected 34 nominations. If you were just to put that number against the production budgets. which are public knowledge -- that averages out to just under $10 million per nomination. But this is nothing. Netflix is spending a total of $350 million on two movies that weren’t even eligible for Golden Globes and haven’t been released yet. Those movies are:
- “Red Notice,” a spy thriller with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, co-star Gal “Wonder Woman” Gadot and Ryan “Deadpool” Reynolds. Estimated cost: $200 million.
- “6 Underground” from action movie king Michael Bay and starring Reynolds (again) about six individuals who fake their own deaths and form an elite vigilante squad that goes on the hunt for dangerous criminals. Budget: $150 million.
Reynolds' vigilante flick – like “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story” – will get a run in theaters starting Wednesday, Dec. 11, but pops up on Netflix two days later.
But when you are spending $1.4 billion a month on content, it’s the cost of doing business. To put that monthly expenditure into context, streaming rival Hulu spent $2.5 billion on content for ALL of last year. New streamer in town, AppleTV+ has a $6 billion spend on tap – four months and a couple of weeks of Netflix’s almost-$17 billion budget.
Now if these nominations translate into Golden Globe victories, which turn into Academy Award nominations and an Oscar win, then Netflix will see this all as money well spent. While the streamer's "Roma" had 10 Oscar nominations last year and Alfonso Cuarón won for "Best Director," the holy grail of Hollywood is an Oscar win for "Best Picture." If Netflix were to win that honor on Feb. 9, it would make its disruption of Hollywood and the movie industry almost complete (it still has to crack the code with theater owners on the distribution windows of how long a film plays in a theater before jumping to Netflix).
Oddly all this Tinsel Town glory did not translate into Wall Street splendor. Netflix stock was down more than 1.5 percent at the close Monday. But that may have less to do with Netflix spending or the Golden Globes and more to do with an activist investor – who turned out not to be so active.
Investor Bill Ackman and his Pershing Square Capital filed with the SEC an intent to take a stake in Agilent. Last month Ackman said he had taken a new position in a tech company and was moving to increase his holdings. The speculation was that it was Netflix.
The Golden Globes Awards ceremony will air live on NBC on Jan. 5 with comedian Ricky Gervais as host. It is ironic because not only did NBC not garner a nomination in the TV categories, for the first time ever no broadcast network was selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as worthy of a nomination.