Ed Norton Calls Out Steven Spielberg & Hollywood For Demonizing Netflix

from the out-with-the-dinosaurs dept

Earlier this year Steven Spielberg had a "get off my lawn" moment in demanding that films from Netflix and other streaming services be excluded from Oscar contention. The sentiment isn't uncommon among old-school Hollywood types who see traditional film as somehow so sacred that it shouldn't have to change or adapt in the face of technological evolution. It was the same sentiment recently exhibited by the Cannes film festival when they banned Netflix films because Netflix pushed back against absurd French film laws like the 36-month delay between theatrical release and streaming availability.

You should note that shortly after Spielberg's rant, he could be found hyping Apple's latest streaming ventures, which suggests a dash of... inconsistency in his arguments.

Enter actor Edward Norton, who hasn't been particularly impressed by Hollywood's vilification of Netflix. In an interview with the Daily Beast, Norton takes aim at Spielberg and others for trying to insist that streaming video is killing traditional theaters. For one, Norton suggests that theaters have been pretty successful in doing that themselves by offering substandard product:

"If I had to say the single biggest contributor to people preferring to watch things on Netflix versus going to theaters, it’s that the theaters nickel and dime on bulbs...They are delivering crappy sound and a dim picture, and no one is calling them on it. If they were delivering what they’re supposed to be delivering, people would be going, “Wow, this is amazing, I do not get this at home."

Norton then digs into Spielberg's claims that Netflix is somehow killing movie theaters, noting that Netflix has done a stellar job in distributing titles like Roma that would have had a harder time gaining traction in sequel obsessed Hollywood:

" If I disagreed with anybody, with great respect, it was [Steven] Spielberg [regarding his critical comments about Netflix posing a danger to movies]. Netflix invested more in Roma theatrically—theatrically—than any boutique label at any studio would have by a factor of five. They put a Spanish-language black-and-white film all over the world in theaters. Hundreds of theaters, not just a few; as many as Sony Pictures Classics would have done. They put more money behind it, in a theatrical context, than anybody would have. You can’t tell me there’s a whole lot of people making black-and-white Spanish-language films and putting that investment behind them. And you can’t tell me that there’s a lot of places making five-part documentaries about the Central Park Five.

An important point that gets overlooked is that there's no data to support the familiar claim that Netflix is killing traditional theaters. In fact studies indicate that heavy streaming video users tend to see more movies at the theater in general because they simply like movies. In short, streaming and brick and mortar movie chains can operate synergistically, making a lot of this whining about Netflix causing a traditional film apocalypse little more than grumbly, "get off my damn lawn" style ranting.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: ed norton, innovation, internet, new models, steven spielberg, streaming
Companies: apple, netflix

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 22 Oct 2019 @ 12:22pm

    The Crux

    Oh its all horrible blah blah... but then why does Alamo do such good business? The specifically target behaviors that are unacceptable & are strict about the policies. Big chains would rather have their ushers armed with nightvision looking for cammers than making sure that bitch 2 rows up stops texting & talking the entire movie.

    Pretty much this. The Alamo has made going to the movies such a great experience that I'm always looking for an excuse to go rather than an excuse not to do so. It should also be mentioned that the strict enforcement of the "no talking" rule is enforced so much that the only people who ever talk during a movie are The Mads (or a local MST3K-style riffing show).

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.