The theater experience is special, but it’s hard to deny the rise of streaming in recent years. As the pandemic shut down theaters, studios turned to streaming services to release their films, but even as the world began to open up again, it was clear that things weren’t going back to how they were before. It’s a new world out there, but filmmakers like Steven Spielberg aren’t keen on streaming companies”unceremoniously” dump movies on their services.
While talking to New York Times, Steven Spielberg took issue with Warner Bros.’ choice to release all of their 2021 films on HBO Max and in theaters on the same day. “The pandemic created an opportunity for streaming platforms to raise their subscriptions to record highs and also throw some of my best filmmaker friends under the bus when their movies unceremoniously didn’t get theatrical releases,Spielberg said. “They were paid and the movies were suddenly relegated to, in this case, HBO Max. The case I’m talking about. And then everything started to change.Steven Spielberg is clearly a big fan of the theatrical experience, but audiences today have so many more options when it comes to watching movies. Spielberg knows that “it’s up to the movies to be good enough” to justify the experience of watching a movie in a cinema.
While the director said that films from Marvel, DC and other tentpoles will always take the lion’s share of the box office, he finds it encouraging when other films are also able to make an impact. “I found it encouraging that ‘Elvis’ broke $100 million at the domestic box office,Spielberg said. “A lot of older people went to see that movie, and it gave me hope that people are starting to come back to the movies as the pandemic becomes endemic. I think movies are coming back. I really do.”
Although Steven Spielberg has had harsh words for streaming services in the past, he acknowledges that certain films could benefit from that release model, even some of his own. “I made ‘The Post’ as a political statement about our time by reflecting the Nixon administration, and we thought it was an important reflection for many people to understand what was happening to our country,Spielberg said. “I don’t know if I had gotten that script post-pandemic, if I would have preferred to have made that movie for Apple or Netflix and gone out to millions of people. Because the movie had something to say to millions of people, and we were never going to get those millions of people into enough theaters to make that kind of difference. Things have changed enough to make me tell you.“
Steven Spielberg’s next film, The Fabelman familyopens wide in theaters on 23 November.