Steven Spielberg believes that Netflix is a “challenge to cinema.” In a recent interview to promote Ready Player One, the legendary director expressed his concerns about the VOD streaming model and the implications for both filmmakers and moviegoers.
Spielberg’s latest film, Ready Player One, will begin a wide theatrical release next week. After premiering at the 2018 SXSW festival earlier this month, the futuristic adventure film already has critics buzzing. Ready Player One takes place in 2045, with Tye Sheridan starring as a teenager who embraces the virtual reality world OASIS as a form of escapism. When the OASIS founder passes away, Sheridan’s character, along with his peers, attempt to decipher a hidden message that will earn them the creator’s fortune. Ready Player One is based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel.
While promoting Ready Player One, Spielberg spoke about streaming platforms during an interview with the British television network ITV News. The director acknowledged that "television is greater today than it's ever been in the history of television," but that filmmakers don’t struggle as much to pursue their creative visions. Spielberg discussed the tentpole model that highlights streaming entertainment events, contrasting the traditional experience of visiting a movie theater. In regard to awards season, he noted that “once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie.” Spielberg also stated that films which are given “token qualifications,” and have a limited theatrical run (a la Netflix Original Movies), should not be eligible for Academy Award nominations.
For Spielberg, the director who famously overcame one of the most challenging production schedules with 1975’s Jaws, it’s a matter of struggle. He believes that studios are more invested in guaranteed commercial success, rather than giving filmmakers more opportunities to challenge themselves creatively. As a result, productions on streaming platforms adhere mostly to a VOD business. In the past, Spielberg has directed Hollywood blockbusters like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park and the Indiana Jones franchise - productions that inarguably have a different feel when experienced in movie theaters. While Spielberg appreciates Netflix, he believes the streaming platform should be eligible for Emmy awards rather than Oscars.
So, what do you think? Should Netflix be on a level playing field with large-scale Hollywood productions? With the upcoming release of Ready Player One, moviegoers will undoubtedly be sharing passionate thoughts online about the theatrical experience, good or bad. But we’ll have to see what receives the most attention: the creative concepts or the act of going to the movie theater for a Steven Spielberg film. For the modern filmgoer, some may prefer a first-time viewing at home, with a large plasma TV and headphones, and a cheaper price.
Source: ITV News
- Ready Player One (2018) release date: Mar 29, 2018