Ben Affleck calls Netflix an “assembly line,” says his and Matt Damon’s new production company to combine “quality” and “commercial” fare

Ben Affleck says his newly minted studio Artists Equity, in partnership with Matt Damon, opts for films that are commercial but smart, that recognize popular taste, but that “people remember 20 years later.”

He thinks/hopes that his latest project, which will be released next year, will fit in with that. Affleck directs, Damon stars in the true story behind the creation of the iconic Air Jordan brand slated for release in 2023 in collaboration with Amazon Studios, Skydance Sports and Mandalay Pictures. Artists Equity expects to release three projects next year, with plans to scale to a minimum of five per year in the future.

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“I don’t see a difference between commercial and quality,” Affleck said during an extended Q&A at the New York Times DealBook Summit in New York with Artists Equity investment partner Gerry Cardinale of Redbird Capital.

Deadline broke the story of the founding of Artists Equity in June.

Quality takes time. “If you ask Reed Hastings… there’s definitely a risk in that, and I’m sure they had great strategy, but I would have said, ‘How are we going to make 50 great movies?! How is that possible? There is no commission big enough. There aren’t enough of them – you just can’t. It is something that requires attention and dedication and work and can withstand the assembly line process. Scott Stuber is a really talented, smart guy that I really like… but it’s an impossible job,” Affleck said, referring to the giant streamer’s founder and co-CEO and head of the original films.

“There’s a bigger audience for action movies than little dramas – I get that. Certain genres play wider and you can’t ignore that. But let’s do a good one, let’s surprise the audience, let’s make them care,” he added.

“The first wave of streaming was about volume,” Cardinale said. “The second wave is about quality.”

The pair joined an eclectic roster at the all-day event, which featured Hastings execs and Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, ​​along with video Q&As with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX.

Affleck, Damon and Cardinale, the founder and managing partner of Redbird, formally announced the launch of their artist-led studio earlier this month, which plans to partner with filmmakers to amplify creative vision and broaden access to profit participation. through “entrepreneurial partnerships” with filmmakers.

Michael Joe, former COO of STX Films and former EVP at Universal Pictures, is chief operating officer.

The founders called Artists Equity an intellectual property monetization platform anchored by three core principles: widening access to profit participation; monetizing IP through maker partnerships; and leveraging a data-driven approach to distribution.

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