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Christopher Nolan has come out in defense of theatrical distributions ahead of his latest film Dunkirk‘s release.
In an interview with IndieWire, the director called Netflix’s distribution policy “mindless” in that it requires content to be simultaneously released on digital and in theatres.
“I think they’re missing a huge opportunity,” he said. “You can see that Amazon is very clearly happy to not make that same mistake. The theaters have a 90-day window. It’s a perfectly usable model. It’s terrific.”
Christopher Nolan had a few choice words about streaming service Netflix this week, calling it ‘mindless’
Nolan is famous for his determination to shoot on film, and works to optimise his creations for the theatre. Nolan wants complete immersion into his films and sees that as an experience only cinema provides.
His comments sparked debate on Twitter, where everyone had varying opinions as to where he went wrong.
One of the first to voice their criticism was director Ava Duvernay, who thought it discriminated against those who don’t have theatres nearby.
“The only platform I’m interested in talking about is theatrical exhibition.” But, what if there’s no movie theater in your neighborhood? 👀 https://t.co/PwcGQdW45Q
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) July 19, 2017
Others agreed with that sentiment, especially considering his films are best viewed on IMAX screens where tickets are notoriously pricey.
netflix: anyone with a device can watch
nolan: you must go to one of the 5 imax cinemas in the country to see my films https://t.co/yDzjjB7IMg
— iana (@yorgosIanthimos) July 19, 2017
I love Nolan but this is a very idiotic stance to have on movies. Netflix reaches audiences all over the world
— rachel leishman (@RachelLeishman) July 19, 2017
I love Nolan but his Netflix/70mm comments come from a place of privilege & a tone-deaf belief that everyone can afford cinema prices
— Garry McConnachie (@TheGMcConnachie) July 20, 2017
Some on Twitter criticised Nolan’s comments that Netflix helping out budding filmmakers would only be admirable “if it weren’t being used as some kind of bizarre leverage against shutting down theaters”.
Netflix is not killing the movie business. They are literally giving money to directors that get turn down by studios bc they are not Nolan
— Alice (@taylorlied) July 19, 2017
We should all be so lucky to have every idea we throw at a studio given the green light, final cut & marketing tsunami.
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) July 20, 2017
If Nolan wants to preserve theatrical experience, maybe he can support new filmmakers through producing so they don’t have to go to Netflix.
— Steven Santos (@stevensantos) July 20, 2017
Some users thought he was another filmmaker scared of a changing industry.
People like Nolan are terrified of change in the industry. Cinemas will always be around but the way we consume media is changing.
— Liam Pendergast (@neonwhite900) July 20, 2017
But others thought this backlash was unwarranted, seeing as Nolan said that he wanted his films to have time in the cinema before they moved to digital — not that he was opposed to digital completely.
I agree w Nolan. I don’t get why Netflix can’t treat movies the same way Amazon does. At least give these movies a chance on the big screen.
— Charles Coleman (@CharlesColeman3) July 20, 2017
lmao, basically Nolan said Netflix should put their movies in theaters before streaming, not “stop putting movies on streaming services!!!”
— rusty (@cjwlsm) July 20, 2017
sucks to see critics mocking Nolan like it’s a BAD thing Hollywood’s biggest director is obsessed with preserving the theatrical experience.
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) July 19, 2017
Nothing like a good old traditional vs modern debate to stir up the discourse.
If you had a whole year you couldn’t devise a more brilliant and brutal test of film twitter than Christopher Nolan trashing Netflix
— Larry Wright (@refocusedmedia) July 20, 2017