Steven Spielberg has come out in defense of film exhibitors as part of his speech whilst accepting the Filmmaker Award at the Cinema Audio Society’s CAS Awards over the weekend.
Last year during “Ready Player One” press, Spielberg expressed concern about the rise of streaming services and their effect on both the film industry and the awards race. At the time he said that with studios having adopted a tentpole-only strategy, smaller films are going to the thriving streaming market which poses “a clear and present danger to filmgoers”.
He went on to say streaming service content is effectively TV content even if it is in feature film format. He considers films on streamers like Netflix to be telemovies, not real movies, and that includes the ones “given token qualifications” with a week in theaters.
The thinking hasn’t changed much in the year since going by his latest speech which suggests he’s firmly with the cinemas, not the streamers, but the focus this time is less on the content format and more on the difference of the ‘theatrical experience’:
“I hope all of us really continue to believe that the greatest contributions we can make as filmmakers is to give audiences the motion picture theatrical experience. I’m a firm believer that movie theaters need to be around forever.
Some of the greatest writing being done today is for television, some of the best directing for television, some of the best performances [are] on television today. The sound is better in homes more than it ever has been in history but there’s nothing like going to a big dark theater with people you’ve never met before and having the experience wash over you. That’s something we all truly believe in.”
Spielberg will film a remake of “West Side Story,” for cinemas, later this year.