Movies aren’t made for small screens. They aren’t even made for big screen televisions. They aren’t meant to be watched on an airplane, the porcelain throne or on a laptop on your chest. Netflix, Amazon and all the other streaming services are trying to convince us otherwise, but movies are made for and meant to be watched on big screens with big speakers and no distractions other than the occasional snoring old man or crying baby.
In February, legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese said this:
“Now you can see a film on an iPad. You might be able to push it closer to your [face] in your bedroom, just lock the door and look at it if you can but I do find just glimpsing stuff here or there, even watching a film at home on a big-screen TV, there is still stuff around the room. There’s a phone that rings. People go by. It is not the best way.”
As he made this statement Scorsese was in the process of signing a deal with Netflix for his upcoming movie The Irishman starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. Scorsese is the first of the great directors to go to streaming, and thus, the first to break my heart.
Since it starting creating original content in 2013 with House of Cards, Netflix has climbed to the top of the television business. It went from a start-up mooching off old TV reruns and independent films to one of the most popular original entertainment companies in the world in just a few years.
Now, Netflix is trying to take over the movie business too. It has made a habit of poaching executives from other production companies, it’s buying top directors like Scorsese to make movies for the small screen and it’s trying to change the way movies are distributed to best fit the streaming model.
Executives plan to spend at least $6 billion on original content this year, and they’re planning big studio expansion in California, likely to match hollywood studios at the rate Netflix is making money.
The company also continues to update user capabilities on its website, some of which disregard the artists who create entertainment in favor of ease of use. Netflix is currently developing a button that will allow users to skip the opening credits of a TV show like they’re a Neutrogena advertisement on YouTube.
Netflix is trying to take movies out of the theater and put them on your iPhone. The six plus is pretty big but not big enough for Once Upon a Time in the West, Blade Runner or even Elf.
Movies are sacred. Netflix can have TV because it works for the small screen. (Bojack Horseman, a Netflix original, is the best show on TV right now, in my opinion). But, the movies don’t fit the same model.