Christopher Nolan slams Netflix's "mindless" film strategy

20 Jul 2017 | Rasmus Larsen |

Christopher Nolan is not a fan of Netflix’s film strategy and the company’s plan to break down the theatrical window model. The ‘Dunkirk’ director called it “mindless” and “bizarre” an interview with Indiewire.

”Mindless” and ”bizarre”

Netflix and exhibitors are butting heads after the company has launched its major push into feature films. This year alone, Netflix will debut 40 movies across more than 190 countries. The more significant part of the plan, however, is that Netflix refuses give theatres an exclusive 90-day window to screen each movie.

On one side we have the directors who are partnering with the internet giant. They tell the world that the Netflix model guarantees 100 percent creative freedom and access to a global audience. Netflix proclaims that internet TV can "reinvigorate the film business".

On the other side we have directors such as Christopher Nolan. He is not impressed with Netflix’s methods and the “bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films”.

- “Netflix has a bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films,” Christopher Nolan said in an interview with Indiewire. “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.”

Christopher Nolan is best known for blockbusters such as the ’Batman’ trilogy, ’Inception’, ’Interstellar’ and most recently ’Dunkirk’. He has a soft spot for the big canvas and celluloid film. ’Dunkirk’ is presented in 70mm, besides 35mm and IMAX.


Nolan praises Amazon

In the same breadth, Nolan praises Amazon. The company has similarly launched a major push into feature film but unlike Netflix, Amazon is playing by the rule book, meaning that the very same customers who funded the party in the first place need to wait several months to enjoy Amazon-produced movies such as ‘Manchester by the Sea’ on its Prime streaming service.

- “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.”

Netflix’s film strategy has been under heavy fire in recent months. When the company for the first time brought two of its movies, ’Okja’ and ’The Meyerowitz Stories’, to the Cannes Film Festival – now the Cannes Theatre Festival? – the festival reacted by introducing a new rule that has effectively banned Netflix from Cannes.

We have surely not heard the last word in the ongoing fight. Netflix intends to intensify its push in the near future. Later this year, Will Smith, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, and Robert Redford will show up on your TV screen, and next year Netflix will bring together Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Al Pacino in ’The Irishman’.

As for Nolan’s critically acclaimed ’Dunkirk’, it is now screening at cinemas across the privileged world. Nolan did not suggest a solution as to how the rest of the world’s billions of movie lovers across the world can enjoy movies.

- Source: Indiewire

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