Netflix mega-project with Scarlett Johansson gobbles up a fortune, but current outrage is misplaced

Netflix’s latest investment is causing a stir: the streaming service is spending $130 million on a RomCom starring Scarlett Johansson. The sum is triggering discussions.

When a new film from the Marvel universe devours 200 million U.S. dollars in production, it hardly causes more than a shrug of the shoulders these days. Big blockbusters are made with big budgets. But woe betides anyone who comes up with investing something in the nine-figure range in a RomCom.

That’s exactly what Netflix is up to: As The Hollywood Reporter reported, the new film Paris Paramount by Nancy Meyers is expected to cost $130 million. Based on Puck, the director had even hoped for a budget of $150 million. That’s way too much for a romantic comedy, according to outraged calls.

Paris Paramount at Netflix: Why is the new Nancy Meyers-RomCom with Scarlett Johansson so expensive?

Admittedly: It’s a hefty sum that any traditional film studio wouldn’t waive. But that brings us to the point: Netflix is not a traditional studio and pursues different goals than Disney, Warner and Co. But how does the hefty sum for Paris Paramount come about in the first place?

The film’s story revolves around a young filmmaker who falls in love with a producer. The two realize several projects together before the relationship crumbles, and go their separate ways. As so often happens in RomCom, they run into each other again one day, and things get complicated.

Here you can watch the Trailer for the last great Nancy Meyers RomCom:

The first thing that gets expensive at Paris Paramount is the stars: Scarlett Johansson, one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, stars. Penélope Cruz joins them, Owen Wilson and Michael Fassbender, not to mention the fee Meyers takes as director, screenwriter and producer.

Streaming productions have few profit-sharing options, as the films have no traditional theatrical release. Bonus income from particularly high box-office takings cannot be lured in. That’s why streamers like Netflix pay their stars above-average fees in advance.

New subscriptions and a double standard: At Paris Paramount, there’s much to learn about Netflix and Hollywood.

Different metrics apply at Netflix than at the movies. A $130 million film doesn’t have to bring in a certain amount to succeed. The streaming service is interested in new subscribers – they are reached through big names like Nancy Meyers, Scarlett Johansson and others.

In addition, the Paris Paramount dispute reveals a double standard. Directors like Martin Scorsese can easily spend comparable budgets on films like The Irishman. On the other hand, a director who wants to make a RomCom as a passion project does not meet the supposed prestige requirements.

The irony is: Scorsese is no guarantee of success. On the other hand, Meyers has only box-office hits to show as a director, which have a long life in home cinema, from The Parent Trap to The Holiday and The Intern. To own a Meyer-RomCom with Scarlett Johansson as an exclusive original – should be a worthwhile and sustainable investment for Netflix.

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