Steven Spielberg wants to change the rules so films like ‘Roma’ won’t win Oscars

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I know this story will probably get like five comments, but the inside-baseball of how Oscar campaigns come together is always fascinating to me, just as it’s always interesting to see the struggle between “old-school, this-is-the-way-things-are-always-done theatrical releases” versus streaming/Netflix/Amazon. In recent years, films produced by Amazon and Netflix have won big Oscars, like Roma’s recent haul (Roma was from Netflix) and Casey Affleck winning Best Actor for Manchester by the Sea (an Amazon production). That bugs some of the old-schoolers, especially when Amazon and Netflix skirt the rules about theatrical releases. So… Steven Spielberg is one of those old-schoolers. He’s flexing his power in the industry so that films like Roma never win a bunch of Oscars ever again:

The champagne bottles at Netflix’s afterparty were still corked Feb. 24 when the streaming company offered Oscar viewers the first peek at next year’s awards season. A teaser for Martin Scorsese’s upcoming gangster drama The Irishman aired midway through the Academy Awards telecast, with a simple phrase appended: “In Theaters Next Fall.” That’s a slight tweak from the language Netflix used in its teaser for Roma, “In Select Theaters,” and the word choice indicates how the company that once eschewed theatrical windows plans to evolve for its biggest film yet.

Scorsese wants a wide theatrical release for his more than $125 million gangster movie, and two industry sources with knowledge of talks between Netflix and theater owners tell The Hollywood Reporter that the streaming company is working to get him one. To do so, Netflix will have to expand the three-week art house theatrical window it pioneered amid controversy this awards season and will have to allow theater owners to report box office numbers, which the streamer did not do for Roma.

“Netflix wants a big footprint for The Irishman,” says one industry source. “They’ve put themselves in a position by supporting these kinds of filmmakers where they have to come to grips with the theatrical business model and how it works.”

Netflix is facing pressure from other industry groups to conform to Hollywood norms to a greater degree than it did on its release of Alfonso Cuarón’s Spanish-language drama, which won three Oscars (for directing, foreign-language film and cinematography) but lost best picture to Universal Pictures’ Green Book, in part, at least according to interviews with several Academy members, because Oscar voters penalized the company for its business model.

A cohort of Academy members led by directors branch governor Steven Spielberg is pushing for a rule change at the organization that would require a movie to have an exclusive theatrical window of at least four weeks to be eligible for major Oscars. “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,” Spielberg said a week before the Oscars while accepting an award from the Cinema Audio Society, in an apparent plea to his peers to resist Netflix’s increasing power in Hollywood. “I’m a firm believer that movie theaters need to be around forever.”

At the MPAA, which welcomed Netflix as a new member in January, other studios are advocating for the company to be transparent about its box office numbers. “Now that they’re in the MPAA, they should have to play by the same rules all of the rest of us do,” says one executive from a member studio. There are also constituencies at the producers and directors guilds pushing for those organizations to address Netflix’s role in the industry in their own groups’ rules — Roma won the DGA’s top award, and was nominated for the PGA’s, but lost to Green Book in a preview of the movie’s Oscar night fate.

[From THR]

There’s also some funny tea in that THR piece about how Netflix spent between $25 million to $40 million on Roma’s Oscar campaign and one unnamed industry source sniped: “What was all that marketing for? It wasn’t to drive people to a movie theater.” LOL. I mean, I can understand why old-guard Hollywood is worried about Netflix and Amazon. People go to see superhero movies in the theater, but if people can get their art-house theater content in the comfort of their own home, then the industry’s business model (as it exists today) will fail spectacularly. But I find that I agree with Spielberg & the Old Guard: if Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are going to play with the big boys, they will need to play by the same rules, which means a more substantial theatrical release for their Oscar-bait films, and releasing information about box office and streams.

Now, all that being said, the counterargument is that Hulu, Amazon & Netflix are doing a much better job of supporting people of color in front of and behind the camera. Steven Spielberg is on my sh-tlist because he was apparently one of the biggest champions for Green Book behind the scenes. In February, Green Book director Peter Farrelly told industry papers that he guaranteed the money and support for Green Book’s Oscar campaign by sending the film to Spielberg, who “watched it five times over two weeks…He flipped and said it was his favorite buddy movie since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Can you even imagine watching that problematic white savior sh-t and thinking it’s a wonderful buddy comedy? Please. That’s what the old-guard is worried about too: that as they get older, Woke Movies will start to replace their white savior bullsh-t.

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85 Responses to “Steven Spielberg wants to change the rules so films like ‘Roma’ won’t win Oscars”

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  1. mm11 says:

    Another white old man showing his a**.
    I can’t believe he really campaigned for Green Book. He’s officially #canceled.
    I wanna see him saying this to Scorsese who has a movie with Netflix coming out this year and most likely will get a lot of awards/nominations.

    • Renee2 says:

      Steven Spielberg said that his favorite movie was Gone with the Wind so take from that what you will. The guy is a douche.

    • Mia4s says:

      Spielberg is also one of those white men who likes to say he doesn’t “see colour” when it comes it people. Yeah….🙄. He’s also done the absolute least when it comes to championing female or POC filmmakers. He’s made amazing films and done some great charitable work, but he is desperately retrograde and out of touch with the times.

      If he is serious about wanting to save the “theatrical experience” he needs to start at the studio level and rally change on admission percentage takes, so that theatres can CHARGE LESS for tickets for some films. How about building cinemas in underserved areas? Or lead the movement to encourage high standards for food and security? Hell…help them install cellphone signal jammers! The “theatrical experience” has been waaaaaay less than magical for over 20 years. That’s not Netflix’s fault. Get your head out of your a** Steve.

      • Wilma says:

        Was just talking about this with someone. The price for tickets is so high that there’s nothing democratic about the movie theaters anymore.

      • @Mia4 Everything you said. I hope someone influential reads this.

      • MCV says:

        I agree with you. Alfonso Cuaron response to him was also about this.

      • Bella Bella says:

        Ha ha about that “doesn’t see colour” comment. Spielberg famously directed The Color Purple. I honestly wonder how many people of color and/or women were on the technical side of that production. When it comes to color, I’m going to take a wild guess and say zero.

        Of all the actresses out there who may have given the character Celie some depth, he cast Whoopie Goldberg. He cast Oprah as another character but she was actually quite good.

        I haven’t seen a Spielberg movie in years, but if Spielberg is a Green Book fan, I’m done with him.

    • Milla says:

      I read too many blindes about him to care at all. Also dude is overrated and outdated.

  2. Millennial says:

    Well I agree at least with the point that I want movie theatres to stick around. There’s nothing quite like seeing a movie on the big screen.

    Otherwise, Spielberg can shut it. He made some great films in the 80s and 90s (almost all starring white men, mind you) but I can’t think of anything of his I’ve seen in a decade?

    • Eliza says:

      Near us, only the art house (read: cash-only, historical/old/rundown) theater plays these art house movies. The main theater’s play the blockbusters. A 300 theater release isn’t going to the masses, but Netflix allows everyone to see them. I love going to the movies but he’s acting like Netflix is killing the theater; theaters aren’t picking up small films anymore because they’re not profitable. And studios are afraid to make midbudget original content – so it’s small art house, or tent pole action/adventure. Let’s not lay the blame solely on Netflix. The landscape is changing, and a big part of the issue is ticket cost, and oversaturation (who can keep up with 4 movies released every week at $15 a ticket?)

      • lucy2 says:

        This. I have a number of theaters near me, and only 1 played smaller, art house, or independent films. And it just closed, but supposedly might re-open, but I bet anything it goes to a mainstream theater if it does. It’s really difficult to actually go to a theater to see a lot of these smaller films!
        The theater 5 minutes from my house only plays mainstream stuff, and is so gross and uncomfortable I refuse to got there.

    • noway says:

      Oh come on Lincoln, The Post, Bridge of Spies, War horse, and even Ready Player One was pretty good. Plus the guy has produced a lot of extremely successful movies and television shows. Not sure what other director-producer still has that kind of credentials in the last decade who isn’t a Bryan Singer or Harvey Weinstein and accused of despicable things. I kind of agree with him here too. Movies and television are different mediums, and if you want it to be seen like tv then it goes to the Emmy’s, a movie which is seen on a large screen goes to the Oscars. He’s not saying you can’t win awards just put them in the right category, and if Netflix wants to be a studio then put the film in the theatre for more than a few days. I mean he’s right you are going to kill the industry if you don’t.

      Finally how does Spielberg never get credit for the Color Purple which he directed and produced, both a female lead character and black cast, plus he’s doing the musical version of it too released in a year. Also, he’s redoing West Side Story, and decided to not Natalie Wood it, and he cast hispanics in the correct roles. Here’s the problem with only having white men directors, naturally people are more comfortable with their viewpoint. He has given us several films with a jewish view point too as that is him, and he has gone outside his box and given us a few stories with strong women The Post being the most recent, but that’s not his experience. This is the reason more women and people of color need to have the opportunity to direct films. No black man has won a directors oscar and one woman has won one. Not Steven’s fault, but a tragedy.

  3. lower case lila says:

    I like the way the Golden Globes has always done it, split the Best Movie into two categories, Drama/Action and Comedy/Musical. So maybe, the Oscars could create another category like Best Online/Live Streaming Movie.

    • kim says:

      i agree. there should be a best theatrical category and a best streaming catagory. It might make the show run long…These works of Art are different like stage and theater. Better off Netflix could have put that 40 million into a new awards show.

    • Eliza says:

      The globes and emmys don’t separate by provider. Netflix show/movies are still allowed in all categories.

      Only the Academy cares, even though these Neflix movies are given theatrical releases. It’s just 1 week later, instead of 3 months, it’s available for streaming.

  4. Mara says:

    I would have loved to seen Roma on the big screen but it wasn’t available near me.
    Like that you covered this, more inside baseball stories please.

  5. Vexa says:

    None of these anti-streaming people ever actually address the real issue – that going to the movies is so expensive and so people only go for the big ‘event’ movies and watch the smaller, ‘riskier’ ones at home to save their money. If Spielberg has a problem with Netflix he should think about why it is that people opt to stay in and campaign against that.

    • Becks1 says:

      This is an excellent point actually. I don’t go to the movies that often (besides kid movies lol) because they are so expensive. If I want to go on a Friday night, to a new release – it’s ridiculous. I wait for all the Oscar nominees to come out on streaming or to rent.

      • Ali says:

        We will buy kids movies and do family movie night at home because it’s so much cheaper than going to the movies. Going to see a movie in the theater is insanely expensive for a family.

    • HelloSunshine says:

      Exactly. Streaming services offer accessibility. The movie theaters don’t. Not everyone can afford to spend $12-15 per ticket (plus getting a sitter, gas, etc.) to see multiple movies and they have to be selective about what they end up paying for. Streaming services like Netflix cost that much a month and offer so much content. If movie theaters want to stick around forever, something has to change.
      I love going to the movies, but I’m a parent who loves the convenience of streaming at home and the fact that I’m getting more for my money.

    • Mara says:

      Good point but will streaming continue to be so affordable?
      Netflix are massively in debt and everyone is now opening up a streaming service to compete and will likely remove their stuff from Netflix. All those subscriptions add up and in the end we may just get something that is basically cable in all but name.

      • HelloSunshine says:

        @Mara my husband and I were just talking about this actually and reached the same conclusion. Hulu has a kind of cable package with their live TV package that’s much cheaper than going through a cable company but is still somewhere around $50 a month and I imagine they’ll add more channels and have to charge more. We think it’ll become more of the norm to see “cable lite” packages or see streaming services offer bundles with other streaming services like HBO and Showtime do

      • Ali says:

        @ Mara – re affordability Netflix just raised its price but it’s still a flat fee that is what you pay. I also have cable bc my MIL is living with us and she’s old school and refuses to learn to watch her shows any other way. Anyway, when cable says it’s $39 a month it doesn’t include the $10-15 a month extra for taxes or the extra fees for boxes or remotes or whatever else that makes a $39 monthly fee really end up being $100 a month. I loathe cable.

    • FHMom says:

      Exactly. My kids love going to the movies. It’s almost a ritual with them the way they smuggle in snacks and want to sit in a particular row. However, we are a family of 5 with my youngest being almost 13. That is a lot of money for us to drop when we know if we can wait a few months, and sometimes it is only a few months, we can rent it for $2.00. I will only spend my money on critically well received movies. The kids and I are excited to see Aquaman in few weeks because I wouldn’t waste my money on it in the theater. Sorry Hollywood.

    • Snazzy says:

      💯 this. I would love to go to the movies more but it’s too expensive. So I just go for the superheros. Once the fix that problem, I’m cool

    • CharlieBouquet says:

      Exactly! Stopped going due to costs, our local theater has brawls routinely, and they were found to have bed bugs. Not too mention the volume is nuts. I mean what does it cost a family of four?

    • Jamie says:

      Yes, thank you. It’s really expensive nowadays, especially if you have a family and/or buy from the concession stand. I was appalled at the prices recently. If I go see a movie in theaters now, it’s only at the weekend matinee so I can save some money (and I skip the food, just sneaking in a bottle of water).

    • Pandy says:

      Right? I haven’t been to a theatre in almost two years. Last movie I saw was pretty flimsy and with popcorn etc it came out to just over $50. Sorry, but I’m not spending that on iffy entertainment anymore. I’d rather go out for dinner. Or shop.

    • Eden75 says:

      The last movie I saw in a theater was Bohemian Rhapsody. Before that? Maleficent. Yeah, I refuse to pay that much for a ticket, get hosed for popcorn, candy and a drink and sit in a place where someone is going to pull out a phone and annoy the crap out of me. I’ll wait until they hit streaming somewhere. Apple TV has a lot of movies fairly quickly, so for $4.95 I can have as many (or as few) people over I want, kill the phones and spend $5.00 on enough popcorn for us to float in.

      Get over it Hollywood. You aren’t special anymore. We are no longer willing to pay through the nose to watch your ‘talkies’.

      (This coming from a woman with an old school movie star tattooed on her leg.)

  6. Scal says:

    Roma did have get released in theaters-longer and more widely than every other foreign picture nom-and I don’t see Spielberg and his ilk crying about how that’s ‘cheating’. Just Netflix and amazon. The change in the rules hurts those smaller pictures and indie films that can only get released in a few theaters in order to qualify.

    Also they should get rid of screeners then. If the argument is you should see a movie in the theater to get the full experience then all the academy voters should have to go to the theaters to. They are hiding behind the ‘its Not being designed to be shown on a theater screen and isn’t the same’ arguement when that’s how most of them watch their content.

    • Lorelei says:

      @Scal: I completely agree about the screeners!! It is so hypocritical.

    • Renee says:

      Exactly Scal. They are hypocrites.

    • noway says:

      Sorry Spielberg is complaining about them all, not just Roma and Netflix. That just happens to be the most popular and recent example. He’s been complaining about this for a while now. Taking out whether you like Spielberg or think he’s old, the problem is how do you define a movie then? What makes it different from a television movie, and what would make you not be able to submit it both to the Oscars and the Emmys? Should they care and what’s the difference? Television movies are pretty much the same as a movie, but just not in a theatre. How do you differentiate, or maybe you don’t and what does that mean. I just hope they decide better than they sometimes do with Lead Actor/Actress and Supporting as that is whatever is submitted by the studio. Cause there has been enough of lead actors/actresses in supporting role category in order to win, I think I could puke.

      • ravynrobyn says:

        @ Noway-great points!

        ETA-I’ve always heard from several different sources that theaters only make $$$ from the Concessions, not the movies they run. Soooo if studios reduced their ticket prices (unlikely), we’ll still have high food/drink prices…

  7. Kit says:

    I don’t think it’s about the competition, really. It’s about control over who gets to tell the stories, and whose stories are told. The old school would be happy to keep following the same bland predictable formulaic crap they’ve been churning out for decades.

    I can’t even care about the Oscars or their rules. I haven’t been to a cinema in 6 years, they don’t have fast forward buttons.

    • hindulovegod says:

      Exactly. The four Netflix movies that got Oscar campaigns were Beasts of No Nation, 13th, Mudbound, and Roma. They would all have struggled for traditional distribution because the gatekeepers don’t see their value. Spielberg is behind the gates, arguing that they are necessary. Why is he so afraid of equity?

    • Jamie says:

      That’s a really good point.

    • Deering says:

      Totally agreed. Even though Black Panther was a critical and commercial success, a superhero movie gamechanger, _and_ proved “black-themed” movies could hit big in the international market, the Academy still opted for retrograde crap like Green Book.

  8. Craptastic says:

    Would we expect any less of a pretentious attitude from Goop’s godfather?

  9. Maya says:

    Oh god no, I have to cancel Spielberg now🤦🏽‍♀️

  10. SM says:

    I mean, even if Marty Scorcese is moving to Netflix, the movie business will have to rethink the current status quo the steaming services have been challenging for a while now. If companies like Netflix can give money to quality products this is where the film making talent will and already is moving. I understand it is hard for old farts to accept that the world is changing but this is the reality. Music business pretty much accepted the fact that the only format people are buying music anymore is downloading. With the pace of life now I really enjoy the fact that I can get quality tv and movies on my own terms in my own house.

  11. Miss M says:

    As If…
    If he had a movie produced by Netflix or if he owned Netflix, he would be singing a different tune.

    I did not watch Green book. Controversy aside… I dont think anyone here remember Peter Farrely was the guy involved in Project greenlight (produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and aired on HBO) that had an argument with Effie Brown and quit. Lol

  12. Becks1 says:

    Okay. So the green book stuff aside…..

    I do kind of agree with him. The Oscars are for movies, traditionally released in theaters. We can discuss if that should change, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that if you want to be eligible for an oscar, you have to be a theatrical release for a certain number of weeks. There is a whole slew of awards for made for TV movies at the Emmys and the GGSs so it’s not like the movies wouldn’t be recognized now. And maybe the Oscar prestige will decrease in favor of those other awards.

    I don’t know. The academy, like the movie industry itself, is in flux right now and they are going to have to adjust some of the rules in the future.

    • IlsaLund says:

      I think the current requirement is that a movie has to be released and shown in a theatre in LA or NY for one week prior to award season to qualify for Oscar consideration….which is why so many art house and indie movies are released in December. Netflix met that requirement.

      • Mia4s says:

        This exactly. Netflix followed the Academy’s rules so Roma (and Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and Mudblood) all qualified. Spielberg is not trying to uphold Academy rules, he’s trying to move the goalposts.

        Look I have a ton of problems with Netflix (number one being there collection of older and classic movies is TERRIBLE and sparse) but preserving the theatrical experience for anything not a comic book or a star war is not about fighting Netflix. It’s about studios taking chances on high end fair, improving access, and making sure people don’t have to remortgage their homes to attend more than two movies a year.

      • noway says:

        I think he wants to redefine them to save the movie theatre. A lot of movie buffs really like the way a movie is shown in a theatre even younger movie buffs. Now Spielberg also has done television, think ER, so I don’t think he has anything against it. I just think he sees it as different, and right now if we keep doing this the movie theatres may lose a lot of business as Netflix and Amazon have a ton of money in the industry now, and supposedly Apple is coming with theirs too. He also partly owns a studio, Dreamworks and I think it is a bit self preservation too. I see his point, and it should be defined better, and probably changed to have a longer than one week run in a theatre.

  13. annie says:

    People like Stephen Spielberg and also those responsible for Film Festivals such as Cannes seem to suffer from memory loss. Only perhaps 10 years ago it was predicted that the number of independent /art house films will significantly go down due to the damage caused by internet movie piracy with torrent downloading and piracy streaming. The art house market of a country like Italy was already nearly diminished and other countries were close to follow. What happened then? Netflix and Amazon started their affordable, global streaming services and are now big producers in independent/art house movie making. If it weren’t for them would a project such as Roma had seen the light?

    The restriction that Spielberg wants to enforce now is similar to Cannes Film festival which starting 2018 makes it impossible for Netflix to enter their Selection short list for the Palme d’or because movies that are eligible for the awards are banned from TV and stream sites broadcasting for 3 years for the market of France. Netflix couldn’t have their potential Cannes winners be banned for their French viewers so they don’t show their movies in Cannes anymore. No big promos for commercial movies either and Cannes had less stars and less prestigious premiers in 2018 than in previous years. Roma went on to win in Venice adding to Venice film festival’s importance btw.

    Long story short: It is simply self-destructive for the film industry to wine about Netflix and Amazon, blaming them for problems of art house cinema, when these sites really became a game changer in an already broken market.

  14. Lucy2 says:

    It’s always interesting to see how the status quo reacts when the new and progressive start edging in on their territory.

  15. Mego says:

    Times change and that’s a good thing. Movies certainly aren’t what they used to be and in the past two decades tv shows were created that knocked your socks off starting with HBO’s “The Sopranos”. Suddenly it was cool for big movie stars to make a return or shift to television acting. It only makes sense that streaming services will produce their own movies and just because it isn’t like the old days shouldn’t preclude them from award consideration imo.

  16. Kiki says:

    These pretentious directors are just mad because Netflix and Amazon has a better model than theatrical releases these days. Ordinary people have no time to watch movies like days before. I mean, I may not speak for everyone, but I can only speak for me and I am a working class person who lives to paycheck to paycheck. I can’t afford to see good movies every Friday and Saturday night. I have bills to pay and I need to survive. I believe Speilberg and most Film Festivals are out of touch and up their high horse. Also, Green Book as a buddy picture, REALLY?. That’s my two cents.

    • IlsaLund says:

      Agree. Movies are expensive. And most big cinemas are only interested in showing the big blockbuster movies that rake in big money. I’m not paying $5 for a soda and $10 for stale popcorn. And then have to sit with obnoxious people talking or texting on their phones, kids kicking the back of the seat etc. Spielberg and his ilk haven’t been in a regular theatre in years and are clueless as to the actual experience folks suffer through. It’s not worth it when you can sit in the comfort of your home and watch a movie on a big size tv.

    • maria s says:

      I work 2 jobs right now and I have to be economical… so I have Amazon Prime and rarely go out to the movies. It has to be something really special, and on top of that bf and I have to agree..

      • Deering says:

        I forget where I read it, but most millennials opt for streaming at home with friends because they simply can’t afford to see movies in theaters.

  17. Eric says:

    Seems that Spielberg is butthurt about streaming services.
    I’m looking forward to The Irishman. Scorsese directs DeNiro, Pacino, and he pulls a miracle in getting the retired Pesci out of the tumbleweeds.

    • BeanieBean says:

      This post is the first I’ve heard about The Irishman. And it’s Scorsese directed, starting DeNiro, Pacino, & Pesci? I’m so confused! Is The Irishman set in New York?

  18. IlsaLund says:

    Wasn’t Spielberg the one who insisted the film industry move from film to digital in making movies? A lot of the old school directors were upset about giving up film, but Spielberg insisted everyone get on board with the change cause that’s progress. What a hypocrite. Also, I think Cuaron couldn’t get Roma distributed in the traditional way and that’s when he took the film to Netflix for distribution. Netflix didn’t finance Roma, only distributed it.

    Instead of fighting against the change they cannot stop, they need to get on board and adapt.

  19. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    If he truly believes in the whole ‘theater experience,’ then that should be his focus not thwarting change. Accessibility, attractions, cost, atmosphere, etc. Transform the experience making people WANT to go to theaters.

    • Eden75 says:

      Exactly.

      Our theater here is so gross I won’t go. Your feet stick to the floor, you are likely to have something nasty from the seat stuck to your jeans when you leave. It smells funny and the projectors are first gen digital, so the picture quality isn’t what it should be.

      I understand that upgrades and such are most likely a loosing battle for theater companies if they are not getting the butts in the seats for the product. Perhaps people like Spielberg should get involved then and help them. Otherwise, no thanks.

    • noway says:

      I don’t know where you guys live, but my movie theatre now serves pretty decent food, drinks, stadium seating with recliners, and has happy hours, plus the popcorn. It’s a lot different than the sticky floors of the past. I have a waiter too, if I want to or can order at front and have it delivered.

      • Eden75 says:

        I know that a lot of the big cities have great theaters but I live in a place of about 80,000. We have 6 screens and it was a Ciniplex dream, back in 1990…….

        There have been no updates to it since they built it in it’s new location when I was in high school. Even the carpet in the lobby is the same one.

  20. Sue Denim says:

    I do a lot of work on business model innovation, and entertainment has obv been hugely disrupted, but I say boo hoo re theaters — it’s crazy expensive, often unclean, even unsafe (see Aurora in this no gun control country of ours), w overpriced food and icky bathrooms. Um no…if I can watch at home, why wouldn’t I…it’s the content that matters not the distribution channel. The old white guy guard really needs to take a seat already…

  21. Anastasia says:

    He can shove it.

    Like a lot of people, we only go see a movie in the theater when

    a) it’s a horror film and has an EXCELLENT Rotten Tomatoes rating
    b) it’s a Star Trek or Star Wars film

    That’s about it. Once in a blue moon, I’ll see a really highly rated art house film that isn’t on Netflix or Amazon. This is the way things are. Here’s a great example: Game Night. When it was out in the theaters, it was getting great reviews. BUT it’s just a silly movie. I’m not paying big movie theater bucks to see a silly movie, even a well-rated one. But the second it was streaming, I was all over it, and have watched it twice now. It’s VERY good! But not good enough for $8-12.

  22. aenflex says:

    I haven’t been to see a film in years, literally years. I haven’t had DirectTV in 7 years. We have Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime.

    Know what I miss about going into theaters? Nothing. Know what I miss about cable? Nothing. There have got to be more of me.

  23. Michel says:

    So awards can only go to movies with theatrical releases but he will take all the money from DVD sales after that. Seems like if he felt so strongly about it he wouldn’t release his movies on DVD or streaming services after that.

  24. Alexandria says:

    This can end up limiting the diversity of movies. If you just stick to cinema distribution, content providers will likely want to make popular and / or safe films so that they can fill the seats required by theatres. Lesser woke films. He is definitely showing his privilege and old guard status here.

  25. Case says:

    He needs to understand that entertainment is changing and it’s going to stay that way. Netflix and similar services provide a platform for smaller productions that would typically get a limited release and very small viewership. Not only do streaming platforms expand viewership, they also expand the types of stories that can reach audiences. Storytelling is becoming more diverse and imaginative because of services like Netflix. And that doesn’t take away from the theater, (I personally love going to the movies), it adds to it. These are different films than what plays at your typical chain theater.

  26. Cay says:

    I saw a movie yesterday in a theater for the first time in months. Three things made me realize why I don’t venture to theaters like I once did. 1) When the couple came in after the movie started and proceeded to discuss in their outside-voices where they should sit for 45 seconds. I missed an entire spot of dialogue while listening to them. (2) When the guy on the other side and 3 rows back hacked up a long several times during the movie. I was afraid we would all leave with and outbreak of TB. (3) When the two old ladies behind me took up five seats and kept grabbing their candy bag to add bag rustling to the beauty of the score. Why do I have the feeling they didn’t buy that candy in the movie theater lobby?

    I don’t have the patience any more for that rude behavior. You’re in a room full of strangers. How about some common courtesy for the rest of the movie goers?!

  27. Biggles says:

    I’m surprised that there aren’t any US cinema chains that have latched onto the Cineworld model that’s taken off in the UK – less than £18 a month for unlimited (and I mean unlimited, I often go two or three times a week) films, plus significant discounts off of concessions. Cineworld is booming as a business, and is taking over old chains all over the show, and it seems a win-win for both business and clients with frequently full theatres.

    • Taya says:

      We do. Movie pass used to be $10/mo for unlimited movies at a lot of different theaters, but they suck now. The AMC chain has three movies a week for 25-19/mo, depending on where you live. Cinemark also has one, but their owners are trump supporting deplorables, so I refuse to pay attention to them. There’s another company that’s similar to moviepass, but the name escapes me atm.

      • Cate says:

        My husband and I use AMC A-list it’s $20 month for 3 movies a week, the refresh day is every Thursday. We go to the movies all the time. They even have a special line for faster concession service and you earn money towards $5 off concessions for each movie you see. We love it, we wouldn’t be able to afford to see all the movies we want to see without it.

  28. Anne Call says:

    The irony of this “principled stand” that Spielberg is taking is the simple fact that most Hollywood people get screeners for all the movies coming out and watch them in their homes. Steve is not standing in line at the multiplex on the weekends.

    The other fact is that small independent quirky films can now be seen all over the country not just LA/SF/NYC type markets. I find this whole conversation hypocritical, elite and clueless. Next he’ll be wanting all the blockbuster videos to reopen :-)

  29. Tiffany says:

    Here is hoping Netflix does not work with Scorcese again. Talk about biting that money hand that feeds you.

  30. Amelie says:

    Movie tickets cost nearly $20 in NYC. It’s way more than the $12-15 you guys mentioned depending on the theater. So no, I am not going to see any movies in the theater unless it’s a huge movie like Black Panther or Crazy Rich Asians. Plus theaters are just so, so dirty with popcorn and soda spilled everywhere, loud and rude people, and bedbugs. I have such a deep seated fear of bedbugs (and not for nothing, I found them in my hotel room in Paris and had bites all over my neck and arms it was awful) and it’s all I can think about every time I go to a movie theater. Theaters aren’t an experience anymore, they’re just a huge inconvenience and the old white dudes don’t seem to get that.

  31. Fluffy Princess says:

    I agree, he does sound butt-hurt. He sounds like Blockbuster when Netflix first arrived on the scene. Blockbuster was the biggest game on the block and said that Netflix was just a “fad” and no one would be interested in that kind of service. . .HA. I’m sorry, but just like Blockbuster failed to do, movie makers like Spielberg need to get with the times and ADJUST to people’s preferences for watching movies. He can rail all he wants, but IDGAF what his opinion is–I like my Netfix, Hulu, Amazon and nothing the industry can say will make a difference to me…

    Another thing that everyone so rightly pointed out is cost. WHY would I spend $40+ to see a movie, when ALL three of my streaming services are less than that a MONTH? It’s a lot of money to gamble on a movie that I might end up thinking is just meeeh. Honestly, though, what movie has anyone seen that you thought: YES!! That was worth $40!!!!!!! Sheesh, I don’t even pay that much for TV show seasons that I buy, and that’s dozens of hours more content. Even my all time favorite movies aren’t worth $40 to me. And that’s just for two people–for families, I can see how it’s totally prohibitive to go more than a couple times a year. A family of four at $15 a pop is $60 just to get in the door! Come on now, that’s ridiculous. Movies used to be the cheap way parents “got rid of the kids” for a few hours. For $5-$10 bucks we could see a movie and get food and get out of our parents hair for awhile. . .not now though.

    We all don’t have that Spielberg money to throw around.

  32. DS9 says:

    I think you get so much more out of smaller films when you can watch them in your home, with closed captioning and rewatch them to get more out of them over time.

    Most of my favorite movies in the last few years were enjoyed this way. Three Billboards, Silence, even bigger action movies like John Wick.

    I miss so much dialogue on the theater and I miss small, quiet moments because the large screen is so much to take in. I’m still in awe of the scene in Tinker Tailor when Cumberbiscuit has the break up with his lover.

    And Silence becomes more powerful with each viewing. I’m sure I would have been bored in the theater with that one and I have no doubt the ocean sounds would have overwhelmed the dialogue and the small, meaningful moments that provoked the thoughts the movie was trying to inspire.

  33. perplexed says:

    I like watching movies in a movie theatre, but they’ve become too expensive. That money can be spent elsewhere rather than on an Amy Schumer movie. Spending a ton on a quality movie is fine, but the expectations that you spend a ton of money on a movie that might turn out to be a dud seems pointless to me. Netflix and streaming services are useful in that regard. With Netflix, you suddenly realize how many terrible films Hollywood likes to make. At the same time, Netflix probably allows for more acting work to be spread around for stuff that might never have been financed by Hollywood in the first place. There’s more choice for everyone.

    To be honest, he does sound of touch with technology even though he’s a film director. It’s a bit funny. Maybe he’s a bit worried about the prestige Hollywood has lost but people change with the times anyway.

  34. Darla says:

    I think in the past 6 months I saw Aquaman in the theatre, and I will see Captain Marvel and End Game. I would like to go more but it’s so much simpler to Netflix and chill.

    I do like the popcorn though.

  35. AJ says:

    When was the last time Steven Spielberg actually sat in a movie theater with the commoners to watch a movie. He is so out of touch.

  36. mandy84 says:

    If memory serves me right, Amazon stuck with a fairly traditional theater run with Manchester by the Sea. I think Netflix could learn from the way Amazon distributed Manchester by the Sea and The Big Sick (not as big an awards darling but profitable). They gave these movies fairly traditional releases for a indie or mid-budget film. Then, as their releases were winding down, put it up on the streaming site. I even think they put Manchester by the Sea back in theaters after the Oscar success even though it was on Prime already (I could be wrong about this.) I never really understood Netflix’s complete aversion to a traditional, smaller release for an awards contender. The only thing I can think of is that Netflix can’t stand to have anyone know actual data on how many people are consuming which product. So, if they actually had to report box office nnumbers, it could bring a whole host of speculation into their data reporting models.
    But even this is ridiculous. I still haven’t seen Mudbound, though it’s been on my Netflix to-watch list forever. I’ve heard it is wonderful but it was completely kept out of the awards-conversation two years ago because Netflix wouldn’t play.

  37. Grant says:

    That’s all fine and good but I really wish he would throw his clout behind actual worthwhile initiatives, like getting female directors nominated for Oscars with a greater frequency.

  38. DeeDeebanana says:

    I can’t wait for streaming services to start their own award ceremony. Something new, fresh, and full of diversity. We’re so tired of the stuffy, boring, Oscars. Enough with Hollywood and it’s racist, sexist, Ageist system.

  39. Margo Smith says:

    I find this incredibly unfair. First of all, Netflix is the best platform to get your movie to the largest audience. Full on world wide release. Like films about and directed by people of colour and women (have you seen The Breaker Upperers?!) Spielberg is a bit narrow minded I think. It’s 2019 bro, streaming services are it.