Legendary actress Helen Mirren has spoken out against Netflix. Mirren’s slam of Netflix is yet another event shining a spotlight on the streaming service. The fixated attention on Netflix has been a mixed bag of positive and negative topics, between cutting ties with Marvel, an increase in subscription prices, and renewals of beloved original series.
In 2007, Netflix evolved from a red envelope in the mailbox into a streaming service that would dominate the TV set of millions. Netflix paved the way for other subscription services and led to the decline of video rental stores, leaving one Blockbuster Video left open on Earth. There's even been speculation that Netflix, and other streaming platforms, will one day obliterate the cinema. After the Oscar season ended, Netflix faced backlash regarding its multiple Oscar-nominated film Roma, for being held in such high regard despite a minuscule theatrical release. Hailed filmmakers, such as Steven Spielberg, have declared that platforms with the ability to release films to TV at the same time they are in theaters are a threat to the moviegoing experience. Mirren recently chimed in her thoughts on the matter.
According to THR, Mirren was at CinemaCon to promote her upcoming film, The Good Liar - which is directed by Bill Condon and also stars Ian McKellen. CinemaCon is an annual gathering of theater owners and Hollywood studios, and jumpstarts the excitement for highly-anticipated films. This year, CinemaCon gave exclusive looks with released footage of Joker, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and IT: Chapter Two. Mirren took to the stage of CinemaCon with choice words for the streaming giant. The actress stated (followed by a round of applause):
“I love Netflix, but f--- Netflix. There’s nothing like sitting in the cinema and the lights go down. I would like to thank you guys for making that environment possible."
Mirren’s comment adhered perfectly to the occasion of being surrounded by cinema owners and also coincided with discussions between the Justice Department and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences regarding Oscars’ eligibility rules. Since Netflix does not honor the theatrical release time frame or reveal box office numbers, several cinema owners will not consider carrying a Netflix film. However, even with the complaints against the streaming giant, Netflix doesn't appear to be disappearing anytime soon.
Netflix launched the beginning of a new viewer-friendly era, writing the formula for streaming success, and paved the way for Hulu, Amazon Prime, CBS All Access, YouTube Premium and the recent development of Apple TV+ and Disney Plus. As with any product available for consumers, Netflix is a constant target for both criticism and praise. While moviegoing is a unique and profound experience, there are some who simply cannot afford the price of tickets. Overall, as long as the craft of storytelling remains special and scared, there seems to be no reason why one can't enjoy a film from the audience in a cinema or from the comfort of one’s own home with Netflix.