Ben Affleck Threw Some Subtle Shade at Netflix

Ben Affleck Threw Some Subtle Shade at Netflix
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Ben Affleck has some choice words about Netflix, calling the network an "assembly line."

In contrast, his Artists Equity studio, which he founded with longtime friend and co-star Matt Damon, will focus on movies that are commercially attractive but smart and that cinephiles will remember for decades to come. Affleck will serve as the company's chief executive, while Damon will be its chief creative officer.

Affleck spoke during a Q&A session at the New York Times' DealBook Summit in New York City alongside Artists Equity's investor partner Gerry Cardinale of Redbird Capital, who has backed the newly formed company with at least $100 million. Affleck said he does not distinguish between commercially successful films and quality films.

"I see no difference between commercial and quality," he explained. "How are we going to make 50 great movies?! How is that possible?" the Argo star said, adding that it takes "attention and dedication and work. It can't be an assembly line process.

"Scott Stuber is a really talented, smart guy who I really like… but it's an impossible job," Affleck said of Netflix 's founder and co-CEO. The Good Will Hunting star understands that action movies have a larger audience than small dramas, and that "certain genres play more broadly," and that needs to be taken into account. But the goal is to make a good movie and "surprise the audience" and make them care.

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The first project of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's new production company is a movie about the Air Jordan brand, which will debut next year. According to Affleck, Damon will exclusively star in and produce a number of films for their company. But the Air Jordan film is not the only one, as Artists Equity has two more films in the pipeline.

The company's philosophy is based on the founders' desire to change the way the industry pays film crews. They believe that everyone involved in the process should receive fair and equitable compensation, and that all films should be of high quality and commercial appeal.

"I want to make the second act of my life to create a really meaningful, robust company that develops a new model that tells stories in a different way," Affleck said. The company will also prize artists in a different way, including behind the camera.

In November Matt Damon also issued a statement about Artists Equity. He said that the company would allow film and television creators to "take ownership of their creative power, providing a platform for both established and emerging filmmakers to streamline the development of their content." (via)

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Whether the duo can deliver remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure – the more independent studios there are in Hollywood making more mature movies, the better for the industry.