Netflix: Budgets for "Sandman", "Stranger Things" Reported as Netflix Suffers Historical Stock Drops
Courtesy of two separate sources, Netflix may be spending more on a single episode of new shows than most low-budget movies! Specifically, budgets for the upcoming, anticipated season 4 of Stranger Things and the long-awaited series adaptation of Neil Gaiman's comic book series The Sandman.
Season 4 of Stranger Things is looking to become the most expensive yet for Netflix. In a new piece by the Wall Street Journal, it's being reported that each episode of season 4 carries a budget of $30 million EACH. This more than triples the budget for each episode of season 3 which were less than $10 million each. This tracks with claims by the Duffer Brothers (the creators of the show) who claim the show's new season will compare to Game of Thrones in terms of scope.
Then, there is the budget for The Sandman whose budget was revealed by Deadline when an excerpt from Dade Hayes and Dawn Chmielewski's new book Binge Times was published. In this excerpt, the two authors reflect on the heated bidding war that ensued for Gaiman's graphic novels, which included both Netflix and Hulu. When discussing the latter winning out in a "pricey deal" with Warner Bros. TV, they revealed that The Sandman is costing $15 million per episode.
This obviously is nothing new as Netflix has been known to overpay for their own original projects in development along with gaining the rights to various shows and movies. One of the most well-known was the ballooned budget for Martin Scorsese's 2019 film The Irishman which originally was said to cost $120 million but was said to have ballooned somewhere between $159 million and $250 million. More recently, the Dwayne Johnson-starring action film Red Notice cost $200 million. Sometimes, Netflix's spending tends to get costly, notably breaking a festival record when, in September 2020, Netflix acquired distribution rights to the $2.5 million budgeted film Malcolm & Marie for over $30 million, outbidding companies such as HBO, A24 and Searchlight Pictures. It's possible that all this is part the reasons why Netflix yesterday lost $54 billion overnight in Market Cap after the biggest one-day stock drop ever. In addition, Netflix has, for the first time in 10 years, lost subscribers for a quarter with a reported 200,000 lost in Q1 and an expected 2,000,000 subscribers loss to follow.
As Netflix no longer is the only game in town for quality streaming, following nearly every major studio starting or purchasing streaming services to show their content, this could be an indication that unless Netflix starts tightening the purse strings and picking their projects for precisely, they could be what Roku was at the beginning of the aptly dubbed "Streaming Wars". Stay tuned!