Steven Spielberg Clarifies Comments On Netflix, Says He Wants To Save Movie Theaters

Written by on April 24, 2019

Fourth Estate Staff

Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E) – Steven Spielberg has clarified his stance on Netflix movies’ qualification for Oscars nominations. The director received criticism after it was reported that he planned to propose to the Academy’s board of governors a new rule that would restrict movies produced by streaming platforms from being considered for awards.

In a statement sent to The New York Times, he stated that his intention was never to preclude Netflix original movies from getting Oscar nominations, but he only wants to ensure the survival of movie theatres.

“Big screen, small screen — what really matters to me is a great story and everyone should have access to great stories.” Spielberg said in a statement. “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.”

He is referring to the proposed policy change where Oscar contenders are required to at least have a four-week exclusive engagement in theaters for them to be considered. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the ‘Jaws’ director will not be attending the Academy’s annual rules meeting.

Source told Times that Spielberg felt that his comments about Netflix were being “overstated” and that his main concern was not about Netflix alone, but for exhibitors, studios, ands streaming companies to work together to save “the motion picture theatrical art form.”

In relation to the proposed plan, the Department of Justice’s antitrust division previously sent a letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences warning its officials that the new rules could raise antitrust issues and potential result in an infraction of the federal competition law.

The DOJ’s move was in response to earlier reports that Spielberg made plans to propose the rule that would block movies that screen only on streaming services or only for brief runs in cinemas.

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