Netflix Fires Back at Spielberg Over Streaming Dispute

It truly is the war of the worlds.

This past weekend brought us a full onslaught of hot takes related to the great Steven Spielberg VS Netflix debate of 2019. In the fight to be right, you were either a supporter of Netflix and all the access they provide to smaller, un(der)discovered films, or you were on the side of Spielberg who viewed the streaming service as a threat to the sacredness of the theatrical experience. 

You were encouraged to take sides and stand your ground. You were either team Green Book or team Roma. You were team E.T. or team Red Envelope.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) even weighed in, letting the public know that Netflix's inclusion at the awards ceremony would be discussed and investigated at a future board meeting.

And now Netflix itself has responded to Mr. Spielberg's claims of its threatening motion picture distribution. The company's response can be read in full below: 

So, as these things go, we must ask, whose side are you on? And is it at all possible, to be on both sides of this argument? Netflix appears to think so. Let us known down in the comments below.      

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when i was born there were 4 theather in my city, today survive only one theather, and show only mainstream movie. i love every kind of media that allow me to see movie less famous or less important to find a bit of distribution. in italy you cannot see most of movie at theather if you are not in a big city or you drive for less then 30-50km. if this is his statment he must wanted to stop vhs, laserdisk, dvd, bluray ... the media that build his fame...
how many people here grow with his film on vhs and dvd?
i was too young to see many of his movie at theather, or my parents wannt to see some of his movies, then i cannot go to others cities alone to see his movies.
time is changing, movie viewing is changing, and legal streaming is only the evolution of vhs and dvd renting.
my movies'love is growed with vhs, today newbie grow with streaming (legal or not).
If you want emotion, big size... like theather, but you can't see at theather...
today a good fhd projector rec709 calibrate cost less 600$, and i see my bluray, streaming by netflix, amazon and more in the beauty of fhd on 3meters screen on my sofà.
i can reverse the idea, today is the time and the possibility for everyone to see like theather in the best quality with less cost at home.
people get together to see Superball, well people can do the same to see movie like at theater.

March 4, 2019 at 8:15AM

Carlo Macchiavello
Director (with strong tech knowledge)

Think you can't stop the progress. Time is running forward and technology so. Novadays you can buy a projector and make home theater for cheap.

March 4, 2019 at 8:28AM


Spielberg is meaningless, just like his movies. His last great films happened a quarter century ago. He's already confusing the canvas with the art. Just STFU, old man or try doing great movies again!

March 4, 2019 at 8:59AM, Edited March 4, 9:00AM


A feature film is a feature film whether it plays on YouTube, Netflix, or in a theater. Isn't the point of the Oscars for the the best storytellers and filmmakers to get recognized? Oh wait, I forgot the Oscars only cares about actors, not filmmakers LOL... Now for a commercial break...

March 4, 2019 at 9:22AM

Charles Maring
Photographer / Filmmaker

I love NETFLIX!! I love cinema! I watch movies from both options.

March 4, 2019 at 10:02AM

Sarah Le

Well don’t be fooled by the bulldozer that is Netflix... It is important to respect a calendar... First Theatrical release... then later vod, Blu-ray, dvd, etc. Theaters must have a slight advantage...

Why is that? Because diversity has won the battle... now on vod Spielberg has to fight with the little independent film... He has to put a mountain of cash to continu to exist in a grand way (big decor, big cast, epic movies, etc.) when a film maker on a shoestring can be an outsider that will steal a lot of his regular filmgoers....

Thoses are like dinosors... and if you think that wild life is better without these gigantic animals that is your right but I feel that ultimately they are making also big and new technologies arise all that come with it...

We use to care for the little independents films because we were afraid they would disappear... well if the studio blockbuster were to become extinct that would be also a great lost for diversity... I never thought I would say that one day but that is true...

The big studios doing less well is good news but we need to keep them alive... and theatre release is that little edge they need.. Also, novelty is an important part of the experience.. we need to watch movies together at the same time to make it an event to rejoice... if it is the anarchy we won’t be able to have the casual chit-chat about what we have seen... Nowadays you watch tv but it is not an event... as a kid a film on Tv would be talked over and over in school and we would learn from each other tastes and experience... And how do you do that with million of channels? The chance your friend has seen the same movie is nought!! Don’t let technology turn us in little individual sods....

March 4, 2019 at 10:26AM, Edited March 4, 10:30AM

Lighting cameraman

I think the consumer and their dollars are the people who have the right to make this decision.

March 4, 2019 at 11:16AM

Ron Saunders Jr
Producer / Filmmaker

Both sides have valid points :
"Feature" films are given Oscars. Made for TV movie are given Emmys.
By default Netflix, YT,and others are made for TV.
When does a film become a Feature film?
Once it's been through the exhibitors hands for a qualifying amount of time, in a qualifying number of theaters. If Netflix hits those requirements - they should be eligible.

If they are doing a minimum to qualify - then the process needs to be adjusted.

March 4, 2019 at 11:46AM

urban revolution
Stories Pictures & Sounds

I’m a purist at heart and of course movies should ideally be enjoyed in a movie theater but the world is evolving. A piece of art, for example a painting, can be equally enjoyed in someone’s garage, a gallery, and/or a museum. Regardless of where you see it, it is still a piece of art.

March 6, 2019 at 9:25PM

Jesse Feldberg
Writer | Director | Actor | Producer | Production Sound

I totally agree with Steven Spielberg, not because I love all his movies, and not because he is my tennager inspiration to actually dedicate my life to filmmaking, but because he show me the way film must be seen to otherwise receive that moviegoing experience that perphaps only people who really understand films, can feel! To Netflix: Film is not about accessibility, (because is not the same to watch a movie with poor sound on my laptop or tv than really immerse myself into the big screen and Dolby Atmos sound). Technically you’re saying that you can feel you’re in another country just because you’re seeing a picture of it. NO!! If I don’t get the full experience, the SOUND require to make me fall back, to get into the action, the IMAGE, the SIZE required to feel empathy with the characters and the world I’m seeing, then it doesn’t worth to see it. I’m not saying this about going into the theater, staying at home and watch streaming movies, IS ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE I’ll GET, and by supporting accessibility, you’re saying that watching a movie in your cellphone because you didn’t have money to buy a ticket it will end at the same as seeing it on a cinema. I understand you’re purpose, but you’re giving for free and with no moviegoing experience the work of hard working artist behind and in front of camera.

March 8, 2019 at 10:20AM


Well said, Christian Reyes.

March 8, 2019 at 12:19PM

Storyteller, Pro Video, Indie Filmmaker

I am on both sides of the argument. I love cinema but I don't like (anymore) the theaters where I am sitting next people eating their buckets filled with popcorn or even worse, looking at their self phones. But I don't like neither to look a good movie on an television, even a big one, with all the lights on. I have seen Roma on Netflix through my DLA JVC projector on a 3m screen, room darkened and with a decent audio system. I have loved it and it's - in my point of view - a theatrical movie made for the big screen. I am just wondering how well people (crew) but also composers or editors, re-recording artists etc..are paid in the 'Original Netflix Movies - Series' because I see a pattern of mass-production especially in their series: sometimes good but sometimes very poor indeed. 'Bird box' and 'Roma' are great, worth to watch in the right conditions.

March 8, 2019 at 10:46AM

Joris Van den Hauwe
Musician - Composer

Ah, the circle of life. But not as the movie or song brings it. When you are young, you fight for change and buck the system. Once you are recognized for your accomplishments you become the new norm. Then as you get older, you are challenged by younger ones with new ideas and the cycle begins again.

I say this because I was raised on film as a editor and director and had the honor and privilege to edit projects on some of the original Star Wars flatbed editing benches. Decades later the technology has changed and I embrace it, even in distribution.

The way we watch movies and TV has changed as well and I am VERY versed on the inside stories of a rag tag group of filmmakers that challenged the studio system of the day in the 70's. One of them was Spielberg. And now he has become one of them, challenging a new thought, a new way of doing things.

Movie houses may see their eventual demise or at least a downsizing. Movie prices are extremely high and we all know about the over priced refreshments. The manipulation of the old theater distribution system is being challenged. Do we accept change and move on, or go back to the dark ages.

Change is what it is. If you are getting too old to accept it, you either move over or accept the fact that that we are always in a constant state of change no matter what industry you are in, or become the has beens of the past, always thinking life was better when it was done your way.

No doubt, in 40 years, this new mode of viewing even with Netflix will be challenged by something else. What it is, who knows but the circle of life continues. I am close to 60 and embrace the new changes as I have learned to work with the new systems as well in the entertainment industry.

March 8, 2019 at 11:50AM

Ralph Lee
Director/ Editor

I have a nice 4k big screen television. Every time I went to the theatre I was frustrated by talking, smoking, cell phones. Plus, I'm 6'6" tall. Just a ton of distractions. At home with the lights out and the beverages and snacks set out, it's much better for total immersion. Plus the streaming services offer many movies not available in the theatre.

March 8, 2019 at 1:09PM

Marc Strong

:-) I am agree with you my dude!! but there have to be look for home decoration for it.

March 18, 2019 at 3:21AM