Spielberg speaks: how Netflix is disrupting the Hollywood scene

With the rise of new streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, Hollywood’s traditional methods are being traded in for newer models. While these streaming companies started out with the development of TV shows, and they have expanded, more and more ventures are being made into film.

Netflix and Amazon are establishing themselves as big players amongst the traditional Hollywood film studios. Both have even broken into Hollywood’s movie award ceremony scene with films developed in their studios.

Netflix has earned eight Oscar nominations in the past few years, while Amazon has even won an Oscar for their adaptation of Manchester by the Sea in 2016.

The success of streaming services has been met with mixed opinions in the Hollywood scene. In a recent interview, Steven Spielberg makes his stance on Netflix’s hybrid method clear. “Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie,” said the seasoned director, suggesting such films are of a different category to theatrical film.

Spielberg suggested that such TV movies should not be considered by the Academy Awards and should fall under the category of the Emmy’s instead.

The artistic director of Cannes, Thierry Frémaux, seems to agree with Spielberg. Netflix movies have been banned from being considered for the coveted prize in 2018.

Last year, two Netflix films by established directors were screened at the prestigious festival – Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories. Neither film had an exclusive theatrical run before being available online.

It is this lack of an exclusive theatrical run that seems to create the most controversy in the Hollywood scene. Even actors of recent Netflix releases such as Annihilation have expressed their disappointment of this factor.

Annihilation had an exclusive screening of three weeks as opposed to the traditional months which movies face before being released on DVD. Writer and director David Gyasi was also dissatisfied at the short theatrical run, stating that the film was made to be shown on the big screen.

But perhaps this is just the inevitable transitional period for the film industry to become more modern and innovative. As technology and society evolves, it seems unavoidable that the way we produce and consume entertainment changes as well.

Traditionally, TV movies have been seen as less reputable and of lower quality. As streaming services venture into the film industry, we can see this starting to change, although there is still resistance to the concept of a movie that skips the exclusive theatre screening for an online premiere.

Pei Wen
Pei Wen
Pei Wen is interested in the workings of politics, the entertainment industry, and the intersection of business and technology with the social sciences.
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