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A Night at the Academy Museum … and a Coup for Netflix

Ted Sarandos and JJ Abrams
Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Matthew Belloni
September 26, 2021

Last night might be considered a coronation of sorts for Ted Sarandos. As the Netflix co-C.E.O. took the stage for a looooong speech at the opening night gala for the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, he ascended as a conquering king. Not a decade after launching high-end original content on his streaming service, Sarandos has pummeled the movie business into submission. The studios have all “pivoted” to streaming-first strategies; Fox was forced to sell to Disney; Amazon gobbled up MGM; actors even gave away their backends—all thanks to Netflix.

Like it or not (and many do not), Sarandos is now, without question, the most powerful person in entertainment. And last night, as board chair of the half-a-billion-dollar facility dedicated to the history of film, he was literally presiding over the museum-ification of the theatrical movie-going experience, along with the rest of Hollywood’s historical artifacts.