Director Christopher Nolan, whose new film Dunkirk hits theaters on Friday, had some not-so-nice things to say about Netflix and their aversion to theatrical releases.
Nolan spoke with Indiewire this week in an interview.
“Netflix has a bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films,” Nolan said in an interview this week. “They have this mindless policy of everything having to be simultaneously streamed and released, which is obviously an untenable model for theatrical presentation. So they’re not even getting in the game, and I think they’re missing a huge opportunity.”
Nolan was kinder towards Amazon Studios, which does show their films on the big screen prior to a digital release.
“You can see that Amazon is very clearly happy to not make that same mistake,” he said. “The theaters have a 90-day window. It’s a perfectly usable model. It’s terrific.”
There were two Netflix films shown their year during the Chicago Critics Film Festival: Take Me and The Incredible Jessica James. As disappointing as it is, festival screenings are likely the only time that they will be shown on the big screen.
Nolan continued his anti-Netflix comments.
“I think the investment that Netflix is putting into interesting filmmakers and interesting projects would be more admirable if it weren’t being used as some kind of bizarre leverage against shutting down theaters,” he said. “It’s so pointless. I don’t really get it.”
Nolan even turned down the thought of working with Netflix should a studio turn down a film project. He went on about the debate with the rise of home video in the 1980s. The worst nightmare for any filmmaker was a film being released on home video and bypass the theaters altogether. This was seen with so many animated movies and other titles.
My own personal comments: I’m old school when it comes to watching movies. Even though I watch several screeners yearly on my laptop, there’s nothing like the experience of watching a film on the big screen. I could have seen Dunkirk play digitally but I opted to see the 70mm print being screened on Friday morning. While many filmmakers choose for a digital release, there are very few that are opting for 35mm or 70mm prints.
The whole interview is worth the read.