Christopher Nolan and Sofia Coppola urge fans to watch films in cinemas, not on Netflix
Art and Experience: Christopher Nolan and Sofia Coppola have urged audiences to see their films in the cinema at a time when the movie industry is reckoning with the growing popularity of video on demand and streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.
Presenting their forthcoming films at CinemaCon, the annual convention organised by the National Association of Theatre Owners, the directors said that they hoped fans opted to watch them at movie theatres, where they were “meant to be seen”.
Nolan made his comments during a presentation of his second world war drama Dunkirk, at which he previewed footage from the film. “This is a story that needs to carry you through the suspenseful situation, and make you feel like you are there, and the only way to do that is through theatrical distribution,” Nolan told the audience, according to Variety. “I am depending and relying on all of you to try to present this film in the best way possible.”
Coppola echoed Nolan’s comments during a Focus Features presentation for The Beguiled, a remake of the Clint Eastwood civil war drama starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman.
“I hope people see it in the theatre, where it was meant to be seen,” she said.
The growth of video on demand has become a subject of much debate within the industry, as both Netflix and Amazon have invested heavily in their original film divisions. Netflix, in particular, has been keen to offer up its productions on its own platform at the same time as a theatrical release, signing a deal last October with cinema chain iPic to release movies simultaneously in cinemas and online.
Meanwhile, last week Variety reported that studios including Fox and Universalare considering proposals to offer films on demand in homes only weeks after theatrical release in an attempt to boost flagging home-entertainment sales.
Nolan’s comments came just moments after Sue Kroll, worldwide marketing and distribution president for Warner Bros, the studio behind Dunkirk, had described the rise of on demand streaming as “an opportunity” for the industry. “Consumer tastes are changing, and that is changing the way we do business,” she said at the beginning of a presentation by the studio. “What our customers are telling us is they want more choices with how and where they watch content.”
In a direct response to Kroll’s remarks, Nolan quipped: “The only platform I’m interested in talking about is theatrical exhibition.”
In a presentation for upcoming Sony Pictures Entertainment releases the company’s chairman Tom Rothman extolled the virtues of the big-screen experience. “Netflix my ass”, he said after displaying footage from the forthcoming Blade Runner remake.
Dunkirk is released in cinemas on 21 July. The film stars Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh as British soldiers caught up in the evacuation from the French beach during the early stages of the second world war.
The Beguiled is released in cinemas on 23 June. It has been tipped to premiere at the Cannes film festival in May.