While the theatrical movie business is by no means doing poorly, it's no secret that every year sees more and more people opt to watch more and more movies at home, instead of heading out to the theater. It makes sense really, as ticket prices only go up, as do the already inflated prices of theater concessions. Additionally, the scourge of in-theater cell phone use continues to grow mostly unabated. With that in mind, it's no wonder that folks would be more selective about the number of films that deserve to earn their theatrical buck.
Of course, there will forever be the purists, who insist that in the theater is the only proper way to watch a film for the first time. Understandably, one such purist is Martin Scorsese. In addition to being one of the most celebrated directors in film history, Scorsese is just plain in love with both making and watching movies, and has long-championed the need to see films in the theatrical environment.
With that said, comments Scorsese made criticizing watching movies at home during a BFI event in London last night aren't exactly surprising. However, with his latest film - mob hitman drama The Irishman - getting picked up by at-home streaming giant Netflix less than two days ago, the timing seems a bit unfortunate. Here's what Scorsese had to say on the matter:
“The problem now is that it is everything around the frame that is distracting. Now you can see a film on an iPad. You might be able to push it closer to your [face] in your bedroom, just lock the door and look at it if you can but I do find just glimpsing stuff here or there, even watching a film at home on a big-screen TV, there is still stuff around the room. There’s a phone that rings. People go by. It is not the best way.”
Whether or not one agrees with Scorsese's stance on watching movies at home, it does seem a bit odd to bash the type of viewing that most will likely be doing with his latest film. While there's no rule that says Netflix can't give The Irishman some type of theatrical run first, one assumes that the service is more likely to debut such a big acquisition directly on their streaming platform itself, in an effort to try and bring in potential new subscribers.
The Irishman has already had high levels of notice, due to the presence of legendary actors Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, in only their fourth time appearing in the same film. Scorsese and De Niro haven't collaborated on a feature since 1995's Casino, and oddly enough, this will be the first time Scorsese and Pacino have ever worked together. For Scorsese's sake, here's hoping The Irishman works just as well on TV, as it does in the theater.
Source: Martin Scorsese [via Screen Daily]