With ‘Red Notice,’ Netflix hopes to become home for blockbusters

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Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds star in the new action thriller “Red Notice.” Netflix says the film is extremely popular on its streaming service, but is that enough to launch a franchise? Photo by Netflix

Big budget action movies with big stars have traditionally been the bread and butter of Hollywood studios. Now, with films like “Red Notice,” Netflix is trying to make its mark on that blockbuster territory. “Red Notice” stars Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot, and is on track to become Netflix’s most-watched movie, but is that popularity on streaming enough to capture the cultural conversation the way a theatrical release might?

Netflix is hoping it’ll be able to launch franchises based on star-filled PG-13-rated films like “Red Notice,” but kicking off multiple movies requires tons of marketing, and it helps if there’s some familiar intellectual property — something Netflix doesn’t have a lot of at this moment. 

The streaming giant also seems to be looking to improve the quality of its movies. In a recent New York Times interview, Netflix’s head of original scripted films said, “If you have the budget to make 14 movies and you only have 11 great ones, let’s just make 11.” 

That’s a nice enough idea, but perhaps too late for “Red Notice,” which is only rated 35% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.



Kaitlin Parker