Steven Spielberg is still out there on the “Ready Player One” publicity circuit this week and in an interview with ITV news he revealed his thoughts on a variety of topics.
Most interesting of those is his expression of concerns about the streaming services and their effect on both the film industry and the awards race. Spielberg is a big defender of the theatrical experience for films but isn’t a fan of the tentpole-only strategy more and more studios are adopting these days:
“A lot of studios today would rather just make branded, tentpole, guaranteed box office hits from their inventory of branded successful movies than take chances on smaller films. Those smaller films that studios used make routinely are now going to Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. Television is really thriving with quality and art. But it poses a clear and present danger to filmgoers.”
From the quote, he lumps the various streaming service content as TV content – even if it is in feature film format. He thinks that the films that are being shown on these services aren’t true films – rather they are TV movies. In fact, even some limited theatrical releases shouldn’t qualify:
“But in fact, 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 the films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.”
He also doesn’t see much of a role for VR in future filmmaking as he says it’s not a medium for narrative storytelling: “The director can’t get people, who are in the experience to pay enough attention. We’re always roaming and looking around at everything available to be seen. I don’t think VR will be competitive with the motion picture theater experience.”
The comments come as a new app called Watch Second Screen has been launched, a mobile app that rebrands and repackages feature films to view just like a series.