Here’s something which already seems to be provoking frenzied debates, with some even ironically calling the Jurassic Park director “a dinosaur”. Steven Spielberg was speaking with ITV News about his latest film Ready Player One, and expressed concern about filmmakers becoming less eager to raise funds and submit their projects to festivals
“Fewer and fewer filmmakers are going to struggle to raise money or to go to compete at Sundance. More of them are going to let the SVOD businesses finance their films, maybe with the promise of a slight one week theatrical window to qualify them for awards as a movie. But, in fact, once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie.”
Spielberg then added the following comment for clarification which has got people arguing:
“I don’t believe that films that are given token qualifications, in a couple of theaters for less than a week, should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy. But not an Oscar”.
“TV is a challenge to cinema the same way television in the early 1950’s pulled people away from movie theaters and everybody stayed home because it was more fun to stay home and watch a comedy on television than it was to go out to see a movie. Hollywood’s used to that. We are accustomed to being highly competitive with television. The television is greater today than it’s ever been in the history of television. There’s better writing, better directing, better performances, better stories are being told. Television is really thriving with quality and heart, but it poses a clear present danger to film-goers.”
It’s hard to argue with him when he says that TV is especially good these days, but I personally think that it’s the increasing number of films financed by and released by SVOD demand services which poses more of a threat to the cinema experience as well as to physical media, which is why I rarely stream movies myself on principle. If I think I’ll like a film, or liked a film I saw at the cinema, then I’ll buy it on Blu-ray. Spielberg himself told ITV News that:
“I don’t have any plans to helm films created for release on SVOD services. I’ll still make The Post for audiences asking them, ‘Please to go out to the movies to see The Post,’ and not make it directly for Netflix.
Good for him. I agree. But disqualifying a film because it was for release on SVOD? Maybe that’s a little harsh.