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Netflix Is Going to Make a Lot More Weird, Interactive Movies Like 'Bandersnatch'

"It could be a wacky comedy. It could be a romance."

by River Donaghey
Mar 12 2019, 3:45pm

Still courtesy of Netflix

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Netflix's groundbreaking interactive film that let people decide whether or not to kick a relative in the balls or whatever, was such a massive success that the streaming service is going to keep the trend going—by rolling out more and more choose-your-own-adventure-style movies, Variety reports.

During a keynote speech in Mumbai this week, Netflix's Vice President of Product, Todd Yellin, announced that the streaming service will be "doubling down" on the experimental format from here on out.

"It’s a huge hit here in India, it’s a huge hit around the world, and we realized, wow, interactive storytelling is something we want to bet more on,” Yellin said, according to Variety. “We’re doubling down on that. So expect over the next year or two, to see more interactive storytelling."

Don't expect them all to be bleak-as-fuck dystopian stories, though. Bandersnatch was Netflix's first interactive movie, but it wasn't the first experiment with the form—the streaming service had already cranked out a few interactive cartoon series for children, and it sounds like Netflix is going to expand to even more genres.

"It won’t necessarily be science fiction, or it won’t necessarily be dark," Yellin said. "It could be a wacky comedy. It could be a romance, where the audience gets to choose: Should she go out with him, or him?"

Sure, an interactive version of To All The Boys I've Loved Before would probably be a hit, but it seems unlikely that the CYOA format will ever actually become a tentpole at Netflix, mostly because the things sound like a monumental pain in the ass to make. It took years of brain-bleedingly complex flowcharts to put together the five-and-a-half hours of footage that eventually became Bandersnatch—and Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker almost lost his goddamn mind in the process. Is that really a sustainable model?

Plus, Netflix gathered a metric fuckton of data about its users thanks to Bandersnatch. And while the streaming service is a little vague about how long it keeps that information or how it will be used, the idea of the company building a stockpile of data about how different viewers respond to choice points in interactive stories gets really sinister, really quick.

More choose-your-own-adventure movies mean more opportunities for our world to inch ever-so-slightly closer to becoming a real-life Black Mirror, which is pretty terrifying, and—actually, fuck it! Who cares! Bring on the interactive rom-coms!

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