March 4, 2019

'The Florida Project's' Director Sean Baker Adds to the Netflix Debate

Is there a right answer to this debate?

The Florida Project director Sean Baker is the latest filmmaker to weigh in on the debate between Netflix and Steven Spielberg, i.e. the streaming vs theatrical distribution saga. 

After hearing from both sides of the aisle (including a brief interlude by Taxi Driver and First Reformed screenwriter Paul Schrader), Baker has offered his own opinion on a mea culpa of sorts between the two Hollywood heavyweights. Can Spielberg and Netflix ever just get along? 

Baker took to Twitter to offer his opinion, which served as a common ground between the opinions of both Spielberg and the streaming giant. In an interesting turn of events, Baker's plea was optimistic in nature. Check it out below:

Do you agree with Baker? Would you pay an extra fee for seeing certain Netflix titles in theaters? Let us know in the comments below.      

Your Comment

4 Comments

It would take some reconditioning and reassuring for exhibitors, as they’ll be timid of the earnings potential of a film that’s guaranteed to keep a large majority of filmgoers waiting at home knowing it would come exclusively to their home platform soon enough.

And for Netflix, it might deter their incentive for original content, which isn’t just to appease their current audience but to function as a drawcard for those who are yet to sign on. If someone doesn’t have Netflix, then they’ll still be able to go see the movie without subscribing to the Netflix service, and then Netflix loses out on that sale. Perhaps the film earns them goodwill in this new potential customer’s mind and they join to see the rest of the catalogue though?

It’s a good suggestion and could work as a solution. Netflix really is great for indie filmmakers who make a film that doesn’t sit neatly into current distribution categories, where there might be concerns about earnings potential for the film. Spielberg has the luxury of relying on his on name and brand at this point, plus the significant P&A spend that accompanies the blockbuster caliber budgets he works with, and that makes his films easier and less risky to release theatrically when going up against mainstream competition. I doubt he knows the feeling of having your film pushed out of one of the few cinemas willing to exhibit in in favour of freeing up a couple extra screening sessions for one of those behemoths which already have over 50% of the screens in that theatre locked up - but indie filmmakers do, and that crushes both the earnings potential and the hearts of everyone behind the film. Not all films are made to compete as Oscar contenders, and not all films will be regarded as such, regardless of their merit, so imposing more barriers for entry just seems unnecessary at this point.

March 4, 2019 at 4:26PM

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Ben Howling
Writer / Director
589

The problem with this 'idea' is that its somehwhat like what movie pass tried but without the netflix teir.

100% the reason netflix works as it does for the price that it does is because each new viewing and each new customer is not a new physical product/space or time put into an event. Saying 'add $2 a month and you can see movies in the cinema, even if its only one movie per month, would not cover the cinema playing the movie. Even if Netflix passed along the entire $2.

The only way it would work is that its not another teir but built into the monthly fee for everyone and then Netflix Prays that essentially the people who dont go subsidise the people that do. So its offered to everyone knowing that only a small percentage will take - I mean hoping

March 5, 2019 at 1:20AM

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Isaac Elliott
Director/Cinematographer
397

Which could easily work, like gym memberships or insurance. If the extra premium costs only count towards Netflix content playing at exhibitors, there’s a good chance that plenty of Netflix viewers couldn’t be bothered going to cinemas to watch the same content they can watch at home, which would subsidise the full ticket costs for those who do go. Even if that premium tier is smaller and pretty much just the cinephiles, apathy is a pretty safe bet.

Alternatively, Netflix could just release their own chain of theatres that exclusively play their own content. They either still continue with day and date releases, or they could run a premium window for new content which limits them to their theatres only (but that really seems to contradict their ethos). They’d have plenty of content to pull from and could have a lot of fun with it.

March 5, 2019 at 4:41PM

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Ben Howling
Writer / Director
589

Seems like a reasonable plan.

March 11, 2019 at 9:56PM

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