The pandemic ruined a lot of things, like Uber Pools and the general feeling of safety in a crowd, but it also took away the one thing Steven Spielberg really cares about (besides aliens that look like raisins): the movie-going experience.
Sure, Tom Cruise resurrected movie theaters this summer, and Nicole Kidman created her own cult out of every AMC Theater location, but that wasn’t enough for Spielberg, who says that outlets like HBO Max and Disney+ ruined movies by having them go straight to streaming, even when movies theaters were not open.
The director spoke with The New York Times about how the movie industry could survive the next wave of streaming. “The pandemic created an opportunity for streaming platforms to raise their subscriptions to record-breaking levels and also throw some of my best filmmaker friends under the bus as their movies were unceremoniously not given theatrical releases,” Spielberg explained.
This was prevalent in the summer of 2020, when big-budget movies like Tenet and Black Widdow weren’t given that theatrical release window they were promised due to …everything. This caused a very upset Christopher Nolan to stop making movies with his longtime collaborators at Warner Bros. His next film, Oppenheimer, will be his first movie not to be released with WB in over 20 years.
Spielberg continued to explain the issue with streamers who began to overcharge for their services when there was, quite literally, nothing else to do. “They were paid off and the films were suddenly relegated to, in this case, HBO Max. The case I’m talking about. And then everything started to change.”
The director’s latest film The Fablemans hits theaters this weekend, and even though Spielberg wants you to see it in a dark room with a hundred other strangers, he won’t force you to. But he will judge you. “When you’re first starting out, and a streaming service gives you a chance to direct your first movie, of course, the streaming service is going to call the shot, but I don’t know anybody that wouldn’t like their movies to be shown on a big screen,” Spielberg explained. “I don’t know anyone that would say, no, I’d rather it be shown on an iPad or in a living room.”
The Fablemans will triumphantly hit theaters on November 11th. Or you can watch it on your iPad at a later date, eventually.