“The Hunger Games” sequels and “I Am Legend” filmmaker Francis Lawrence has seen the industry change in the fifteen or so years he’s been helming movies.
There’s little doubt that cinema is remodelling itself, streaming TV series and films are often now the dominant form of cultural discourse with the only cinema releases breaking through being entries from a handful of franchises and established IP.
As a result, original adult-themed films on the big screen are few and far between – including Lawrence’s own 2018 racy espionage drama “Red Sparrow”. Speaking with Slashfilm, Lawrence says over the course of production and release of that film it became clear to him that he ‘just got in under the wire’ and that kind of movie can’t be made anymore through the studio system:
“It was already a different world from the moment we decided to make ‘Red Sparrow’ to when ‘Red Sparrow’ came out. I mean, for many reasons. One in terms of what people were going to the theaters to see, but also in terms of sexual politics. So it was a very different world that movie was released into.
I certainly would not make that movie now or expect anybody to allow me to make it now at a studio for a theatrical release. I do believe that you could get a movie like that made at Netflix or Apple or maybe HBO or HBO Max or one of the other streamers. Not Disney+, clearly. But I feel like you can make that movie.
I just don’t think any studio is doing it. I don’t think Fox is doing it. I don’t think Warner Brothers is doing it. I feel like they’re all so kind of desperate for IP-driven movies because they’re so afraid of what people are actually going to see that they’re just not doing it. And that’s the great thing about streaming is that you can do all kinds of stories.”
For Lawrence, he sees success in streaming as more about being in the public consciousness for at least a little while and streaming offers the benefit of getting people to “watch and talk about it and there are eyes on it.” Lawrence has talked briefly with Lionsgate about a prequel film in the “Hunger Games” franchise, and is reportedly linked to an undisclosed Netflix project. He most recently directed three episodes of the Apple+ TV series “See”.