Netflix has come a long way since sending DVDs through the mail to inevitably eliminate movie rental locations like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video.
Not only have they introduced streaming content online, they have evolved into a powerhouse production company that makes and acquires its own original content that rivals even the biggest Hollywood studios.
And because of that, Netflix and Steven Spielberg are feuding over this key issue that had the entire industry shocked.
Netflix stormed on to the Hollywood scene when they produced the hit show House of Cards for an inordinate eye-popping amount of money.
Although the streaming giant is usually secret about their statistics and budgets, rumor has it that they paid disgraced actor Kevin Spacey approximately $1 million per episode and a reported budget of over a $100 million for a season.
From there, Netflix bankrolled that financial success – measured by new subscribers since they don’t deal in advertisement – into new movies and episodic shows that seems to come out literally all the time. It’s seriously hard work keeping up with how many new shows they produce.
But now they’re starting to cross into the award-winning market and that’s where the living-legend director, Steven Spielberg, has a major problem.
The Academy Award winner recently made national news after suggesting that awards shows like the Oscars should no longer allow Netflix – or other streaming service entities – to be nominated for its top awards.
His comments came after Netflix’s Roma was nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars but ultimately lost to Green Book.
After his initial comments received backlash from his fellow Hollywood community his production company responded.
A statement from Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment read, “Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation. He’ll be happy if the others will join [his campaign] when that comes up [at the Academy Board of Governors meeting]. He will see what happens.”
The Academy also responded, “Awards rules discussions are ongoing with the branches. And the Board will likely consider the topic at the April meeting.”
Most of Hollywood’s most powerful filmmakers – especially those who have directly worked for Netflix, Hulu or Amazon – figure that there is no real difference how the public receives the content. It’s as if the streaming giants are only a vessel.
But unfortunately for them, Spielberg has a point.
The argument he’ll make at the upcoming meeting in April is that the approach to how the film is screened is determined by how the filmmakers make it.
For example, when prepping for a movie, the way a project is filmed, which ultimately affects the creative process, is dictated by how it’s meant to be screened. A big-budget Christopher Nolan film is meant to be seen/heard in an IMAX theater.
It’s boils down to the difference between taking a picture with your iPhone and painting a canvas. Or, better yet, it’s like seeing that canvas through a picture on your iPhone versus being in the Louvre in Paris.
This should be an interesting dialogue about this meeting in April but ultimately the streaming giants will win and all they have to do is release that movie into theaters.