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Netflix releases two completed films, filmmakers look for projects elsewhere

A trend among entertainment companies as Hollywood continues its will-they-not-they relationship with a possible recession is the offloading of completed projects. The move has been seen across the industry, from AMC+ to Parmaount+ and Disney to HBO Max. utilities The Hollywood Reporter has heard of two completed Netflix feature films, The inheritance and Housewifewhich are no longer distributed by the streamer, with filmmakers purchasing them elsewhere for distribution.

The inheritancedirected by Alejandro Brugués and produced by Paul Schiff, and Housewifefrom director Danis Goulet and producers Tripp Vinson and Daniel Bekerman, are genre films that were supposed to be released by Netflix, which are now no longer moving forward with the films.

In the summer, HBO Max announced that the DC feature film bat girl and the animated film Scoob!: Vacation Chase would be shelved after both completed production. It was reported at the time that they were victims of parent company Warner Bros.’s new business strategy. Discovery, which would include a tax write-off on the films’ budgets.

It’s unclear exactly why Netflix decided to disable the two features, but one notable difference from the HBO Max titles is that The inheritance and Housewife shop elsewhere. More recently a feature film based on the Comedy Central series Workaholics was dropped by Paramount + five weeks before filming was to begin. Like the Netflix features, this project is now being purchased elsewhere.

In terms of television, multiple shows have been canceled while in various stages of production, or show renewals have been withdrawn before the new season started. AMC Networks, which was on precarious financial grounds, has sought up to $400 million in write-downs and orders for series like Demascus, 61st Street and Invitation to a bonfireall of which were completed or partially in production.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, studios like Paramount and Sony began offloading completed films to recoup or minimize financial losses, ending up with streamers Netflix, Amazon and Apple TV+. Nearly three years later, after pivotal efforts to streaming, entertainment companies are battling inflation, a possible recession, and a constant hunt for subscribers.

Netflix’s decision to remove the two titles comes as the streamer tries to maintain roughly the same level of content spending — $17 billion — of recent years while focusing on profiting from its more than 230 million subscribers worldwide. Last week, the streamer reported a huge fourth quarter, with 7.66 million paid subscribers, including the new ad tier option. As previously reported by THRthe streamer has cut back on movie bets, but has a smashing roster of titles in the coming months, including those from Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston Murder mystery 2 (March 31), Jennifer Lopez The mother (May 12) and Chris Hemsworth’s Extraction 2 (June 16). Recently, Netflix was a big buying power at the Sundance Film Festival, with the busiest premiere, Fair gamefor $20 million.

The inheritance takes place on the eve of billionaire Charles Abernathy’s 75th birthday when, according to the project’s description, “he invites his four estranged children home for fear that someone — or something — will come and kill him tonight. To ensure his family will help protect him from what’s to come, Abernathy risks every one of their legacies – they get nothing when he is found dead at dawn. Joe Russo and Chris LaMont wrote the film, which stars Bob Gunton, Peyton List, Austin Stowell, Briana Middleton, David Walton and Rachel Nichols. (Nichols was previously married to Netflix movie head Scott Stuber.)

Housewife follows, as the logline reads, “A mother recovering from a brutal accident moves her family into a prototype smart home, only to discover that the home’s AI system may have sinister intent.” Anna Halberg and Spenser Cohen wrote the screenplay for the film, starring Alice Braga, Kris Holden-Ried and Sarah Gadon.

A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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