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Ben Affleck Launches Film Studio With Matt Damon, Slams Netflix's 'Assembly Line' Production

Affleck emphasized the importance of quality over quantity at 'The New York Times'' DealBook Summit.

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For many, the sheer amount of original content on Netflix is one of the platform's major draws — but Ben Affleck isn't impressed.

Thos Robinson | Getty Images

The actor and filmmaker has launched film studio Artists Equity with Matt Damon and RedBird Capital Partners to forge a new production model that values quality over quantity, and at The New York Times' DealBook Summit on November 30, Affleck called out Netflix specifically, Variety reports.

Related: Netflix Layoffs Explained, Nearly 300 Employees' Jobs Cut

"If you ask [Netflix co-CEO and chairman] Reed Hastings…he'd say, 'Hey, we went for quantity to establish a footprint,'" Affleck said. "I'm sure there's wisdom 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. There aren't enough — you just can't do it."

Affleck went on to say that filmmaking "requires attention and dedication" and "resists the sort of assembly line process" of Netflix's production strategy.

Netflix boasts hundreds of original titles. In the last quarter of 2021, the streaming giant reportedly released 129 original content titles, per Statista, spending $17 billion on content production in 2021 — up significantly from the just under $7 billion it spent in 2016.

Affleck acknowledged there's a bigger audience for certain genres; he even starred in a Netflix movie of his own, action thriller Triple Frontier, in 2019. But he wants to "surprise the audience" and "make them care about [the film]."

Related: 5 Takeaways From Netflix CEO's New Book

Affleck will act as CEO at Artists Equity, while Damon serves as chief content officer. The company's first film is currently in production: a still-untitled drama chronicling the story of Nike's Air Jordan sneaker brand.

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