Netflix CEO Attempts to Save ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Wednesday’ From Cancelation

in Entertainment

Netflix's two top shows, Stranger Things and Wednesday

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

When we look at pop culture today, the iconic shows, movies, and music is what shape trends, brings together communities, and pulls focus.

For companies creating these stories, or artists shaping the music, it is of the utmost importance that they are able to have their creativity expand past them, and grab a larger group of guests, encapsulating them into the story, leaving them begging for more.

Television and film has been doing this over the last century, and now, the ability to create immersive alternate worlds and bring an audience into it from their couch through a screen has become easier than ever. Because of that, the talent pool and story opportunity has grown exponentially.

Disney+ home screen displayed on flatscreen TV on living room media set
Credit: Unsplash –
Marques Kaspbrak

One of the major entertainment companies that have shifted the direction of movies and television is Netflix.

The top video streaming service, Netflix, started by shipping DVDs to customers by mail. Fast forward a few decades, and Netflix consumes more than 15 percent of the world’s internet bandwidth and has subscribers in more than 190 countries.

Netflix was founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in a small California city called Scotts Valley in Santa Cruz county.

Netflix has received its biggest springtime growth in subscribers since the early days of the pandemic, following a crackdown on password sharing and a rollout of cheaper subscription options.

Netflix globe logo
Credit: Inside the Magic

The video streaming service added 5.9 million subscribers during the April-June period and continues to grow.

In 2020, people were still largely stuck at home and looking for ways to keep themselves entertained while governments around the world struggled to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, Netflix finds itself trying to bounce back from a growth slowdown amid stiff video streaming competition and inflationary pressures that have caused many households to clamp down on spending, especially on discretionary items such as entertainment.

Although Netflix has begun a password-sharing crackdown, as well as price increases — the platform continues to grow and currently dominates the streaming wars with 247.2 million subscribers.

netflix squid game
Credit: Netflix

With COVID-19 having slowed down production in 2020, as we just noted, and the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike putting a pause on the new creation of scripts and filming of new content, Netflix is currently bleeding itself dry while also squeezing every last dollar from its fans.

Since July 14, 2023, the American actors’ union SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) have been on strike over an ongoing labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

In addition to standing in solidarity with the writers, the strike is led by changes in the industry caused by streaming and its effect on residuals, as well as other new technologies like AI and digital recreation. It marks the first time that actors have initiated a labor dispute in the U.S. since the 1980 actors strike and the first time that actors and writers have walked out simultaneously since 1960.

Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP took place from October 2-October 11, and will resume on October 24, 2023. This strike is among the longest in SAG-AFTRA history.

SAG-AFTRA Strike LGBTQIA+
Credit: SAG-AFTRA Instagram

Because of this, Netflix has not been able to move forward on storyline creations for their most popular series and IP.

Wednesday and Stranger Things are among the two most popular pieces of content to emerge from Netflix, and currently, both shows are on hold due to the strike. Netflix has even spoken out and stated that once the strike ends, these two shows will take priority — clearly, we can see where the money lies for Netflix, and with each day pushing back future success, money is being drained from the mogul streaming company.

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday
Credit: Netflix

According to What’s on Netflix, Wednesday is the most-watched series of all time with 1,718,800,000 hours watched. This has a completed viewing equivalent of 252,100,000 views. Previously, Stranger Things season 4 held the title.

Created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, it stars Jenna Ortega as the titular character, with Gwendoline Christie, Riki Lindhome, Jamie McShane, Hunter Doohan, Percy Hynes White (who is being written out of season 2 following allegations), Emma Myers, Joy Sunday, Georgie Farmer, Naomi J. Ogawa, Christina Ricci, and Moosa Mostafa appearing in supporting roles.

Related: ‘Snow White’ Replacement Jenna Ortega Hit With Controversy

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams
Credit: Netflix

The plot follows Wednesday Addams, who is expelled from her school after dumping live piranhas into the school’s pool in retaliation for the boys’ water polo team bullying her brother Pugsley.

Consequently, her parents Gomez and Morticia Addams enroll her at their high school alma mater Nevermore Academy, a private school for monstrous outcasts, in the town of Jericho, Vermont. Wednesday’s cold, emotionless personality and her defiant nature make it difficult for her to connect with her schoolmates and cause her to run afoul of the school’s principal Larissa Weems.

However, she discovers she has inherited her mother’s psychic abilities, which allow her to solve a local murder mystery.

Wednesday and friends
Credit: Netflix

Related: Jenna Ortega Rejects Beloved ‘Wednesday’ Role, Refused Netflix Offer

Alternatively, Stranger Things has been around for four seasons, as opposed to just one, and also shares a spooky undertone.

Stranger Things is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by the Duffer Brothers for Netflix. Produced by Monkey Massacre Productions and 21 Laps Entertainment, the first season was released on Netflix on July 15, 2016. The second and third season followed in October 2017 and July 2019 respectively, and the fourth season aired in two parts in May and July 2022.

Argyle, Jonathan, Eleven, Will, and Mike in 'Stranger Things' Season 4
Credit: Netflix

In February 2022, Stranger Things was renewed for a fifth and final season.

Set in the 1980s, the series centers around the residents of the fictional small town of Hawkins, Indiana, as they are plagued by a hostile alternate dimension known as the Upside Down, after a nearby human experimentation facility opens a gateway between it and the normal world.

The ensemble cast includes Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Matthew Modine, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Joe Keery, Dacre Montgomery, Sean Astin, Paul Reiser, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson and Brett Gelman.

In addition to the TV series, the Stranger Things franchise has expanded to include tie-in novels, comic books, video games, and merchandise.

The series has blown up so much so, that even Universal theme parks have capitalized on the IP. Halloween Horror Nights is the premiere Halloween event that guests can enjoy at both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort. This year, guests can enter the world of Stranger Things as Stranger Things 4 has its very own house.

Stranger Things Mike Wheeler and Eleven dating
Credit: Netflix

While Stranger Things has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon, recent reports have indicated that major changes will be coming to the show as fans wait for Stranger Things Season 5, as well as the prequel Strangers Things: The First Shadow, which is set to be a live play.

Wednesday being the younger of the two shows, and the one that is not ending after one more season, will likely be to franchise that Netflix continues to mold and shape for sky-rocket success, however, with one more season of Stranger Things still at hand, there are millions, if not billions of dollars that can still be made.

Stranger Things stars Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard, and Sadie Sink
Credit: Netflix

But what happens if the strike continues and the stories cannot move forward?

Variety recently shared that Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos has spoken out on the stike, clearly as a last-ditch effort to try and help it come to an end so his company can return to making money.

“I’m an optimist. I’m an eternal optimist. We’ve been at the table and been receptive, and we’re working at this as hard as we can. It’s impacted a lot of people,” Sarandos said.

“I mean, we’re talking about helping folks with housing instability today. This strike has cost families billions of dollars and communities billions of dollars. It’s 3% of the national economy, 20% of the California economy is affected by this strike. So, we are trying very hard to get this done,” he added.

Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Sadie Sink, and Galen Matarazzo in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

It is obvious that Sarandos is looking to keep good face in terms of Netflix’s stance on paying their writers and actors more when it comes to media headlines, as he continues to show Netflix is “optimistic”.

That being said, he did note that billions have been lost, which has inevitably affected the bottom line of Netflix.

Recently, we shared that SAG-AFTRA has now issued guidelines on Halloween costumes for actors and actresses as the ongoing strikes continue. The union has shared that no one is to dress as characters, which would be against strike guidelines.

The organization shares that members may dress up as characters from non-struck content, like an animated TV show, and they should choose costumes that are “inspired by generalized characters and figures” rather than from struck content. In addition, SAG-AFTRA tells its members not to post photos of costumes on social media that are inspired by struck content.

Jenna Ortega dancing as Wednesday Addams in 'Wednesday'
Credit: Netflix

We have seen actors like Rachel Zegler wear merchandise inspired by their characters, such as the actor wearing Snow White characters on clothes, although she cannot talk about her upcoming Disney film without “scabbing”.

Many were furious regarding this decision, believing that it was much more petty compared to the larger picture of things. The one note we can take from this is that both sides are ready to bring these negotiations to a close, so hopefully, that is exactly what will happen when negotiations resume on October 24. Of course, this is affecting more than just Stranger Things and Wednesday, but other iconic Netflix shows like Squid Games and Bridgerton.

If the strike continues, Netflix will be at risk of losing Stranger Things and Wednesday, as the story will not be written, and momentum and popularity will continue to diminish.

Are you more of a fan of Wednesday or Stranger Things? 

 

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