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“We disagree, respectfully, with The Academy of Motion Pictures,” Michael Selsman
Steven Spielberg’s plan to ask the Academy’s board of governors to vote for a new rule that would combat simultaneous awards-contender releases on streaming platforms and in movie theaters, saying in a statement that he wants everyone to have access to great movies but also that he wants to see movie theaters survive.
The Academy has spoken.
On 24 April, the members of the steering committee voted to stay in place in their rules that Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), or other streaming sites, commit to one-week runs in theaters before they run on television. We disagree.
“I want people to find their entertainment in any form or fashion that suits them,” Mr. Spielberg said in a written statement sent by email to The New York Times. “Big screen, small screen — what really matters to me is a great story and everyone should have access to great stories.” He added, “However, I feel people need to have the opportunity to leave the safe and familiar of their lives and go to a place where they can sit in the company of others and have a shared experience — cry together, laugh together, be afraid together — so that when it’s over they might feel a little less like strangers. I want to see the survival of movie theaters. I want the theatrical experience to remain relevant in our culture.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Spielberg did not attend the meeting yesterday – he obviously was tipped off beforehand how the Academy committee would vote, and he did not want to be on the losing side.
He said that he was in New York making plans for his re-make of West Side Story. He could have made a video, or appeared live on Skype or Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) to make his case..
However, we agree with Spielberg. We like to sit in a darkened theatre and go with the vibe, whether we laugh or cry is beside the point. On television, you can pause it to go to the bathroom, interrupt the film for dinner, or lovemaking, anything, including your cat throwing up. We miss the shared reaction of strangers.
We agree with theatre owners that dare to suggest to the distribution nabobs that films should have a holdback period of 90-days to play in movie houses before they are allowed on TV.
“Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie,” said Spielberg. “You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination. The greatest contribution we can make as filmmakers is to give audiences the motion picture theatrical experience. I’m a firm believer that movie theaters need to be around forever.”
“We agree with Spielberg,” Michael Selsman. “Have some fun, see a movie in a theater this week.”
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