As hundreds of movie buffs waited in line to see Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” at the Telluride Film Festival in August, an S.U.V. rolled up and a tall, tanned man wearing sunglasses stepped out. He smiled and waved before breezing into the theater with his entourage.
“Was that some sort of celebrity?” one ticket holder asked.
Moviegoers may not know Scott Stuber, but he is fast becoming one of the most important — and disruptive — people in the film business. A former Universal Pictures vice chairman, Mr. Stuber, 50, is Netflix’s movie chief. His mandate is to make the streaming service’s original film lineup as formidable as its television operation, which received 112 Emmy nominations this year, the most of any network.
With the rapturously reviewed “Roma,” which arrived on Netflix on Friday, Mr. Stuber has pushed the internet giant into the center of the Oscar race. Mr. Cuarón’s subtle film about life in 1970s Mexico City is likely to give Netflix its first best-picture nomination. To make sure, the company is backing “Roma” with perhaps the most extravagant Academy Awards campaign ever mounted.
But “Roma” is just the start of Mr. Stuber’s cinematic onslaught, one that is forcing old-line studios and multiplex chains to confront a panic-inducing question: Will the streaming company that prompted many people to cut the cable cord now cause people to stop going to theaters? Having disrupted the television and music businesses, the internet is finally threatening the heart of Hollywood.
Mr. Stuber, armed with Netflix’s debt-financed war chest, has films coming from Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, Dee Rees, Guillermo