Netflix vs. Steven Spielberg: Battle over the future of the movie experience
Netflix wants to change how you watch movies. Steven Spielberg wants to preserve the theatrical experience. Those two points of view are clashing, with Netflix pushing back against a plan that Spielberg reportedly has to create rules that could block the streaming giant from future Oscars contention.
“It’s the old guard versus the new guard,” said Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “We’re at a crossroads on how people are enjoying their entertainment.”
Netflix on Sunday night responded to Spielberg’s reported plans by tweeting from its film unit’s Twitter account, “We love cinema.”
The company said in its tweet that it “also loves…Access for people who can’t always afford, or live in towns without, theaters; letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time; giving filmmakers more ways to share art.”
“These things are not mutually exclusive,” Netflix Film tweeted.
Netflix did not mention Spielberg by name, but the tweet came after Hollywood trade publication IndieWire reported last week that the Oscar-winning director was “devoted to ensuring that the race never sees another ‘Roma’ — a Netflix film backed by massive sums, that didn’t play by the same rules as its analog-studio competitors.”
It’s not clear what rule changes Spielberg might be planning to propose at the Academy’s annual board of governors post-Oscar meeting. But a spokesperson for Spielberg’s production company, Amblin, told IndieWire that “Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation.” A spokesperson for Amblin declined CNN Business’ request for comment.
Spielberg, who is a member of the Academy’s board of governors and one of the most powerful people in Hollywood, has previously said he thinks that films that forgo a theater run or have a limited theatrical release shouldn’t be in contention for Oscars.