Cannes cans Netflix
Sorry for the punny headline, but it's a serious story. Netflix original films are no longer being accepted at Cannes.
I think that's a huge mistake. Theatrical distribution these days is certainly no guarantee of quality or excellence, and Netflix is putting out some incredible stuff these days. As is Amazon.
Remember when cable was new and you couldn't enter a cable show for an Emmy? Pepperidge Farm remembers... and so do I. For a while they had to hold their own awards, the Cable Ace Awards, until the ye olde' fartes came around. This feels like a similar case.
I suspect awards competitions and theatrical production people are feeling threatened by the quality coming from non-theatrical entities. Likewise, look at how many Emmy awards have gone to Netflix or Amazon shows. I'm sure the head of NBC has some explaining to do when that happens. Change is good, but for some it is a threat.
This just in - during a press junket for "Ready Player One" Spielberg stated that streaming movies are "tv movies", and should not be eligible for Oscars. Sorry Spielberg, I like your movies, but I disagree with you on this point. A good movie is worthy of praise and awards regardless of distribution channel.
I read another person's response to that, and to paraphrase it, Steven's preoccupation in his comments is seemingly with the theater-going experience, not the actual process of filmmaking and content creation. How many people watch films in a real theater anymore, compared to a big screen at home? He's hung up on the delivery system for nostalgic reasons... which is, of all people, most appropriate for Steven and his kind of movie-making.
Art is art, it remains the same no matter if it hangs in the Louvre' or in a gas station.
I love seeing a movie in a theater, but the theater-going experience has been compromised by:
kids texting during the movie
adults taking phone calls during the movie
adults taking babies to R-rated movies
80 minutes of commercials before the movie plays
You almost need to see something in IMAX 3D just to filter out the groups of kids not willing to pay for those tickets
I go to a movie theater only a few times a year for movies like Blade Runner or Dunkirk.
The last Spielberg movie I saw in a theater was 3D Jurassic Park.
The reality of 2018 is a lot of people prefer to watch movies on a home television.
He's definitely wrong on this subject. It shouldn't be the fault of the filmmaker if the only way they could get funding for their (potentially great) movie was through Netflix or Amazon, instead of the traditional way through some creepy traditional Hollywood producer guy like Harvey Weinstein.
I don't see why putting a movie through a 2 week NY/LA run where 5,000 people end up seeing it in theaters ends up giving it some sort of additional prestige? Especially if it was just for the sake of qualifying it for an awards run. Usually the loudest dumbest movies are the ones everyone pays tickets for, and the awards movies are the ones everyone streams at home (also because the AMC in their suburb didn't commit any theater space to these smaller movies)
I agree with what Mike is saying about theater annoyance; and there is an optimal time to go to a movie annoyance free. I'm a person who has gone to a lot of movies in the last few years, at all times of the day/week. I think the best way to see a new release movie is at around 12:30 pm on a Saturday (preferably if it's nice out). If you go any earlier, the old people flood the place, if you go any later, the young people start showing up. You've gotta hit that sweet spot where people are still trying to eat lunch or figure out what they're going to do with their day, and you'll end up in a theater with about 5 people in it.
Now, if you're willing to wait a couple of weeks, go see a movie during it's third week on a Wednesday night at like 9pm, and you'll be probably the only person in there. You don't even have to turn your phone on silent! Then you can laugh like De Niro in Cape Fear and no one will care.
In this case Spielberg seems to represent the old guard of Hollywood who probably are leery of change. The American New Wave, or whatever you want to call the 1970s movies of Spielberg, Coppola, Scorsese, Depalma, Friedkin, Lucas, etc produced some great films with a particular look and feel and gave some great opportunities to a group of new actors (Hackman, Pacino, Deniro, Dreyfuss, Hoffman, etc). These directors are now facing the end of their collective careers and they have collectively a great body of work. But it's 2018, and times are a changin'.
Has Spielberg ever watched Breaking Bad on an iPad while drinking a beer on the sofa wearing pajamas? I would say probably not. He has a home theater and silk bathrobes! But I have and so have millions of people. Are we not valid movie fans because we choose to watch streaming content in our pajamas?
Interestingly, the Oscar nominated films are sent to Academy voters on some kind of digital media. They are not required to see the films in a theater.
I was curious and found the official Oscars rules for how a movie is eligible for an Oscar nomination. If Netflix complies with the LA night time theater run and media specs, but most people view at home, then either the Academy needs to change the rules to accommodate the A-list directors, or the A-list directors need to embrace change because it will happen with or without them:
Those rules look blatantly like they are geared to protect and promote physical movie theaters, and give them a monopoly, or at least a strong advantage, on content distribution, full-stop. It's protectionism, and it's been this way at least since TV was invented and hurt the movie projection business. Might be time for a sequel to the 1948 US Vs. Paramount case.
I think the industry won't change that any time soon, not of their own volition. But it may become moot as time goes on, as distribution channels continue to expand and people seek their media on different platforms, and the Academy will find itself made irrelevant, despite their protectionism. Artificial constructs meant to dam the tide of progress don't hold for very long, historically.
Likewise to your point mark, when VHS and Betamax came out, there was a push from media owners to prevent time shifting of television content. Universal sued Sony to try to prevent the ability to record movies off broadcast television (or cable presumably) and lost the case. Ironic that Sony went on to also be a movie studio.
Spielberg's film Minority Report attempted to conceptualize future tech, such as self-driving cars, touch screen computer interfaces and of course jet packs. They did not forsee streaming video however. Even Back to the Future II did not anticipate the current state of digital technology, but they sure got people excited about hover boards!