The Obamas' production company, Higher Ground, set to release new films

 December 7, 2023

Ever since leaving the White House, former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama have struck it rich on many levels, including film and television production. 

Their company, Higher Ground, is set to produce a number of new offerings that the former president said isn't necessarily going to be PBS-friendly.

The New York Times touched on several projects from the Obamas' production company, many of which deal with serious subjects "that aren't always uplifting."

The piece detailed their attempt to "evolve from an earnest, feel-good brand to one that is more complex and focused primarily on good storytelling centered on, Mr. Obama said, people who are dealing with 'the tensions that are in our society.'"

Coming soon

Higher Ground will reportedly release three films within a month of each other, with the first one available on Netflix this week.

The Times noted:

The film “Leave the World Behind” centers on the idea of mistrust and how easy it is for humans to lose empathy for one another when faced with a crisis. It is at once unnerving, misanthropic and bleak.

When questioned about the new style the Obamas pushed Higher Ground to use, he admitted that the direction of the company has changed.

"It’s taken a while for us to remind our team at Higher Ground, as well as the creative community in Hollywood, that this isn’t like Masterpiece Theater — not everything we do has to fit on PBS," Obama said.

"We are known to watch other things," he added.


The Obamas were criticized for their massive 2018 Netflix deal, with many critics saying it was built around vanity and not genuinely good content.

"I think this year, with ‘Rustin’ and ‘Leave the World Behind,’ you can see the scope and scale and potential for the ambitions that they have, and we have for them,” said Ted Sarandos, the co-chief executive of Netflix.

As far as the 2024 presidential election, earlier reports indicated that the former president will likely not be as involved as he was in 2020.

That must be a nightmare for President Joe Biden, who can barely muster an ounce of excitement from his own party as it stands. The Obamas are clearly set on making money at this point, and that's at least one thing they seem to be able to do quite well.

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