Netflix betting big on Scorsese's 'The Irishman' in Hollywood shift

Netflix Inc is investing hundreds of millions to make three big-budget films in a move aiming more to retain and grow its subscriber base than blow out the box office, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The streaming giant will spend nearly $200 million to make the Dwayne Johnson action movie “Red Notice,” which will be filmed next year at exotic locations, and also stars Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot, according to the Journal. In addition, Netflix plans to release later this year “6 Underground,” a Michael Bay-directed action film that is costing about $150 million, and Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman.”

According to the Journal, Scorcese’s historical drama “The Irishman” -- which is expected to cost at least $173 million -- might be the company’s riskiest bet. The movie will use cutting-edge visual effects that allow stars including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci to appear at different ages, according to the report.

The Journal reported that Netflix bought the rights to “The Irishman” after major studios passed because of budget concerns.

“Without Netflix, ‘Irishman’ would not have been made,” sources told the Journal. “I just don’t see [other] studios wanting to dive into these projects anymore. I think they are staying away from the riskier, more mature films, especially dramas.”


The Journal points out that Netflix’s revenue comes from subscription fees, not ticket sales. Earlier this month, the company’s shares tumbled more than 10 percent the day after it said it lost subscribers in the U.S. for the first time in nearly a decade.