How Dumping Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. Cost Netflix an Insane Amount of Money
As celebrity after celebrity in Hollywood has been accused of sexual misconduct, studios set to produce projects with these disgraced stars have been left scrambling. In a few cases, actors have been replaced via rewrites or reshoots, while in other cases, the projects have just been canceled altogether — even if they were already completed.
The result has been quite a few companies losing a lot of money, especially Netflix, as three men accused of sexual misconduct had projects in the works with the streaming service. Now, we have a better idea of exactly how much money Netflix lost in all of this.
1. House of Cards Season 6 had already begun filming when the Kevin Spacey allegations surfaced
Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of sexual misconduct in October 2017. In the subsequent weeks, others came forward with stories of abuse. This created issues for Netflix, as Spacey starred in one of their biggest original shows, House of Cards. He played the main character, Frank Underwood.
It would have been one thing if the allegations came out long before the upcoming season was in the works. If that had happened, Netflix could have easily fired Spacey and still had plenty of time to write him out of Season 6 before production began. It might have had to delay shooting a bit, but not much money would have been lost.
But by the time the first Spacey allegation was published in October, Season 6 of House of Cards had already been shooting for two weeks. So Netflix completely shut down production of the show, as the writers had to re-do all of the scripts to remove Spacey’s character. It is likely that most, if not all, of the footage shot in those two weeks will be completely unusable.
Next: Netflix also axed this other project with Kevin Spacey.
2. Netflix had to scrap a completed movie starring Kevin Spacey
House of Cards Season 6 wasn’t the only project that Netflix had in the works with Spacey. It was also working on a movie called Gore, a biopic about Gore Vidal in which Spacey played the lead character.
Although House of Cards Season 6 had just begun, Gore had been essentially completed by the time the accusations against Spacey came out. Shooting took place over the summer, and the movie was in post-production when the Rapp allegations were published.
Obviously, since the movie revolves entirely around Spacey’s character, there were really only three options for Netflix: Release the film with Spacey in it, reshoot the entire movie with a different actor, or don’t release the film at all. Netflix opted for the latter option, and so months of work — and millions of dollars — went to waste on a movie that no one will ever see.
Next: Netflix was also working with this celebrity when he was accused of sexual misconduct.
3. Netflix also had a Louis C.K. stand-up special in the works
Another celebrity accused of sexual misconduct recently had also been working with Netflix: Louis C.K. In November 2017, five women said that the comedian sexually harassed them.
Earlier in the year, Netflix had released a stand-up special by C.K. Before that special was released, it had already signed on C.K. for a second one. However, after the allegations against C.K. came out, Netflix decided not to move forward with the second special.
Next: The insane amount of money Netflix lost, due to all of the canceled projects
4. Netflix lost $39 million as a result of these canceled projects
Canceling all of these projects and shifting around production schedules adds up to a lot of money being lost. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix recently reported a whopping $39 million loss in Q4 2017 due to “unreleased content we’ve decided not to move forward with.”
In case there was any doubt about what this was referring to, according to Variety, Chief Financial Officer David Wells said that the loss was “related to the societal reset around sexual harassment.”
Next: A third Netflix project was affected by its star being accused of rape.
5. Netflix also fired Danny Masterson from The Ranch after sexual misconduct allegations
There’s one more way that Netflix was affected by men being accused of sexual misconduct. Five women have accused actor Danny Masterson of rape. Four of those women actually made their allegations in March 2017, long before the new wave of sexual assault allegations. However, a fifth woman came forward in December 2017.
Masterson starred in The Ranch, the Netflix comedy series that also stars Ashton Kutcher. After facing backlash for firing Spacey and C.K. but keeping Masterson around, Netflix announced in December that it would be writing his character off of The Ranch.
It does not appear that this directly contributed to Netflix’s $39 million loss, however.
Next: Why losing $39 million isn’t a big deal for Netflix.
6. $39 million is just a drop in the bucket for Netflix
Although $39 million is quite a lot of money, it’s just a drop in the bucket for Netflix. After all, Netflix is now worth about $100 billion, according to TechCrunch.
Despite some of the accusations surrounding some of its stars, the company saw tremendous growth in Q4 2017, adding nearly two million subscribers. So $39 million is actually a fairly small amount of money for the company. That’s not to mention the fact that Netflix is already $20 billion in long-term debt.
When deciding, for example, whether to cancel the movie Gore, Netflix evidently came to the conclusion that it would be better to take this financial loss rather than receive the negative publicity of releasing a movie starring Spacey.
Next: Netflix isn’t the only one to lose money because of Kevin Spacey’s misconduct.
7. Netflix isn’t the only company to lose money after replacing Spacey
The allegations made against famous men like Spacey not only impacted Netflix, but other companies as well.
Sony, the studio that distributed All the Money in the World, also had to make adjustments. That movie was set to open in less than two months when the allegations came out against Spacey, who played one of the main characters in the movie. Ridley Scott decided to take the unprecedented step of reshooting all of Spacey’s scenes with a different actor: Christopher Plummer.
But doing so wasn’t exactly cheap. According to Variety, the reshoots cost about $10 million. For some perspective, the movie’s original budget was only $40 million. Unlike Netflix, however, Sony actually got to release the finished product, though the movie has not yet made its money back at the box office.
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