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Home / Hollywood / Steven Spielberg vs Netflix debate attracts heated comments online. See reactions

Steven Spielberg vs Netflix debate attracts heated comments online. See reactions

Reportes of director Steven Spielberg’s intention to lobby against the Netflix release model has attracted heated online debates.

hollywood Updated: Mar 04, 2019 15:52 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Filmmaker director Steven Spielberg arrives for an event.
Filmmaker director Steven Spielberg arrives for an event.(AFP)

Reports that filmmaker Steven Spielberg will be proposing a rule change at the next Academy meeting that will make it more difficult for Netflix (and other streaming) films to compete at the Oscars, has sparked an online debate among the film community.

As reported by, Spielberg is likely to take his criticism of Netflix films at the Oscars to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Spielberg's effort is devoted to ensuring that the race never sees another Roma, a Netflix film backed by massive sums, that didn't play by the same rules as its analogue studio competitors. Spielberg is looking for a fixed theatrical release window for films, which will qualify them for the Oscars. Roma played in just 100 theatres before being released online.

Indian actor Kabir Bedi tweeted in reaction to the news: "DINOSAUROUS! Never imagined Steven Spielberg so retrograde as to want different rules for films made by streaming services and those produced by all others. A film is a film is a film. No matter who produces it. And: Rule changes he wants would disqualify most regular producers."


Sean Baker, director of Tangerine and The Florida Project, suggested that Netflix add a "theatrical tier" to its pricing plans.

"This would help keep theatre owners and audience members who appreciate the theatrical experience satisfied," he wrote on Twitter, adding: "Just an idea with no details ironed out. But we need to find solutions like this in which everybody bends a bit in order to keep the film community alive and kicking."


Film and TV director Richard Shepard wrote that "good movies are good movies -- wherever they play. And in a world where we have more Jurassic Parks than Shirkers, Netflix fills a gap. Love the big screen, but love the story/heart of movie more."

The Black List founder Franklin Leonard added that what matters isn't what would happen to Netflix, but to "every other film and filmmaker who will struggle to get access to the resources necessary to make a film but not get those allowing for a four week exclusive theatrical release", reports.

First Reformed writer-director Paul Schrader emphasised that "distribution models evolve" and pointed out that "Netflix allows many financially marginal films to have a platform and that's a good thing".

The director, however, said that some films are too esoteric to benefit from being added to Netflix's "larder", using First Reformed as an example.


"Dream Girl" associate producer Prasanna Ranganathan posted a thread explaining that Netflix has gone the distance in terms of giving distribution to projects from people of colour and other marginalised groups.

"If the Academy's commitment to diversity and inclusion as articulated in its A2020 strategy is as robust as it seems, excluding Netflix and its diverse artists, storytellers and filmmakers from awards consideration makes no sense."

Jinn director Nijla Mumin wrote that "no one is lining up to give you a full theatrical release. Smaller films are often put into smaller theaters, where many people don't see them."

Also read: Netflix or movie theatres? Can there be room for both?

In her thread, she questioned whether a film's inability to find wide theatrical distribution should mean it is "erased from the entire awards conversation".

Ava DuVernay, who has worked with Netflix previously and will return to streaming with an upcoming mini-series for the service, wrote, “Dear @TheAcademy, This is a Board of Governors meeting. And regular branch members can’t be there. But I hope if this is true, that you’ll have filmmakers in the room or read statements from directors like me who feel differently. Thanks, Ava DuVernay.”


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