As the war between moviegoing and the streaming revolution continues, Hollywood veteran Steven Spielberg has chosen to fight for the former's high-art supremacy.
According to Variety, Spielberg took his swipe at the streaming revolution while accepting the Filmmaker Award at the Cinema Audio Society (CAS) awards in Los Angeles, saying "there’s nothing like going to a big dark" cinema.
"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 at the InterContinental Hotel. "I’m a firm believer that movie theaters need to be around forever."
While the Hollywood legend stated his appreciation for television and the creativity it allows, he emphasized that the experience of watching a movie at home differs from watching a movie with people in the movie theatre.
"I love television," he continued. "I love the opportunity. 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 theatre with people you’ve never met before and having the experience wash over you. That’s something we all truly believe in."
This marks the second time in a year that Steven Spielberg has publicly voiced tacit disapproval for the shift from moviegoing to streaming. In March of last year, when the Cannes Film Festival banned Netflix originals from competing for the top prize, Spielberg said that such movies should not even be considered for Academy Awards.
“I don’t believe that films that are given token qualifications, in a couple of theaters for less than a week, should qualify for Academy Award nominations,” Spielberg told ITV News. "Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie. If it’s a good show, you deserve an Emmy. But not an Oscar.”
One of the problems that Spielberg sees with streaming is that it has effectively forced studios into bankrolling strictly tent-pole features while eschewing mid-budget and lower-budget fare, which allow more room for creativity.
"Television is thriving with quality and heart,” he said. "But it poses a clear and present danger to filmgoers. I’ll still make The Post and ask an audience to please go out to theaters and see The Post and not make it for Netflix."
Directors Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino have expressed similar opinions. The only mainstream director to fully embrace the streaming revolution is Steven Soderbergh, who began experimenting with distribution models when he released his indie movie "Bubble" simultaneously in theaters and on DVD back in 2005.
Despite the controversy, Netflix has continued to pick up Oscar nominations. Last year, "Mudbound" received nominations in acting and original song. This year, Alfonso Cuaron's "Roma" has 10 nominations, including Best Picture.
The controversy surrounding Netflix recently has been the way in which they measure views, which some have said, including FX CEO John Landgraf, are overblown or misreported.