Steven Spielberg does not want Netflix/Hulu/Amazon/Etc. to sit at the film table. They can sit over in the "TV movie" corner.
Do you agree, disagree, have exceptions?
Spielberg is a film legend whose words still carry tremendous weight, and it's hardly a surprise that he's taking a traditional line on what makes a movie a movie.
Spielberg just had a great talk with ITV News, calling Netflix and other streaming/video on demand services a direct threat to the cinematic experience. (He'll be happy to hear that Cannes just banned Netflix films from competition. More on that below.)
Spielberg compared the "challenge" of streaming content like Netflix to the same challenge television first posed on cinema in the 1950s. The difference today, Spielberg said, is studios would rather just create "branded, tentpole guaranteed box office hits" from their own inventory of hits "than take chances on smaller films." And those smaller films that studios used to routinely make are going to Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and company.
"And by the way, the television is greater today than it's ever been in the history of television. ... television is really thriving with quality and art. But it poses a clear and present danger to film-goers."
Fewer filmmakers are going to struggle to raise money or compete in Sundance, etc., Spielberg added, and more will just let the SVOD businesses finance their films -- maybe with the promise of a one-week theatrical window for token qualification as a movie.
The Oscar-winning director -- whose film "The Post" was nominated for Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards -- was asked if he thinks those films should be considered for Oscars.
"Once you commit to a television format, you're a TV movie. You certainly, if it's a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I don't believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination."
On a related note that Spielberg will enjoy, it was just announced that the Cannes Film Festival has banned Netflix from submitting films for competition. Netflix can still show films out of competition, but past competitors like "Okja" and "The Meyerowitz Stories" would be shut out.
Cannes head Theirry Fremaux explained the decision (via Vulture):
"Last year, when we selected these two films, I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in cinemas. I was presumptuous, they refused."
So Cannes changed its rules to require all competing films to have a theatrical release in France.
"The history of cinema and the history of the internet are two different things."
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