Martin Scorsese has published a new essay in The New York Times which responds to his earlier statements about Marvel films that are not considered cinema – a statement that causes weeks of hot recording, Twitter bickering and shadow of subtitles. Her an absolute must-read.
Here is just one of many good quotes:
Unfortunately, the situation is that we now have two separate fields: there is audiovisual entertainment worldwide and there is a cinema. They still overlap each other from time to time, but that is becoming increasingly rare. And I fear that the financial dominance of one is used to marginalize and even belittle the existence of the other.
The ears of Disney CEO Bob Iger have to burn something hell! Scorsese & # 39; s less than subtle explanation of Disney and its monolithic presence resonates with cinephiles who have been invalidating Disney for some time. There is a good reason: the dominance of Disney is impressive and terrifying.
It is also not entirely new. Studios in the 1930s and 1940s used to have theaters so that they could determine where their films were playing so that the public would watch their films and not the film from another studio. It was also considered unfair to customers, and the whole system was that dismantled in 1948.
Disney has no theaters, but dominates the calendar year with blockbusters that people want to see. That makes it harder for other studios to find a weekend for a smaller release. 2020 may be a weaker line-up compared to record-breaking 2019, but competing studios have to compete against Disney at 19 out of 52 weeks of the year. 2021 is even worse, with four Marvel films and the return of massive franchises Avatar 2 and a new Indiana Jones movie about the docket.
Scorsese is not the first director to call Disney. Quentin Tarantino sent his own grievances to the company in December 2015. His film, The Hateful Eight, used to be shown on fewer screens than he wanted because Disney wanted Star Wars: The Force Awakens on as many screens as possible.
The New York Times essay also touches streaming as a problem, but the two are closely related. Streaming is a wildcard. In many ways, it is actually better for the industry, because companies constantly need new films, which means that companies are ordering more and more films. They also change what theatrical releases would have been in exclusive streaming. Disney is already doing it with its live action remake of The lady and the wanderer. It started as a theatrical release, but it became a Disney + launch title.
Both independent, artistic films that Scorsese likes, and once theatrical releases were streamlined via streaming services. It is a problem, according to Scorsese, because every film must be experienced as a theatrical release, not just Marvel films. He is not wrong, but the comment comes when Netflix distributes his new movie, The Irishman, in certain theaters across the country before it was streamed later this month.
Leaning on both streaming and theatrical releases makes perfect business sense for a company like Disney. Funnel risky bets in streaming where customers are constantly looking for new content, and use theaters for major franchise games. The launch of a streaming service is a big – and expensive – gamble. The use of theatrical releases for blockbusters can be bad for cinema as an art form, which Scorsese emphasizes, but it is very businesslike.
Seriously, read Scorsese & # 39; s New York Times essay. It is worth it.