Over the course of the pandemic, both audiences and studios have had to turn to streaming more than ever before out of necessity. The choice to divert movies destined for the big screen to streaming services hasn’t received the best reaction from the people who made those movies, and that includes Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins.
Patty Jenkins has previously spoken about how Wonder Woman 1984‘s day-and-date streaming release was a heartbreaking experience for her. “It was detrimental to the movie,” Jenkins said. “I don’t think it plays the same on streaming, ever. I’m not a fan of day-and-date and I hope to avoid it forever.” While speaking with The LA Times, Jenkins took another shot at movies specifically made for streaming services.
All of the films that streaming services are putting out, I’m sorry, they look like fake movies to me. I don’t hear about them, I don’t read about them. It’s not working as a model for establishing legendary greatness.
While I would agree that there are definitely more than a few streaming movies out there that feel like they’re just meant to be another piece of content, we have seen some very impressive projects made by major directors like Martin Scorsese and David Fincher. Even when we emerge from this pandemic, it seems clear that studios have come to see the value of streaming and shorter theatrical windows, but Patty Jenkins is willing to fight to preserve the theatrical experience. “I’ve talked to many filmmakers about all of us uniting,” Jenkins said, “and if someone does guarantee a theatrical run, we will literally go out of our way and take less fee, all kinds of things, to guarantee that your film has a chance of success in this certain kind of way.” Jenkins added that it “doesn’t make sense for studios that have billion-dollar industries to throw them in the garbage so they can roll the dice at competing with Netflix. It’s crazy to me. All I’m saying is that one studio should make a huge commitment to the theatrical experience and plant the flag and the filmmakers will go there as a result.“
Despite Patty Jenkins’ harsh words, she does see the value of streaming, particularly for TV. “I really believe in limited series and television series,” Jenkins said. “As a filmmaker there are stories I want to tell, like “I Am the Night” [for TNT], that are longer and don’t fit into the movie format. Streaming is great for massive amounts of content and bingeing TV shows. I think they are two very different skill sets and I see them succeeding as two very different things. That’s why I think it’s a mistake for the film industry to throw something away so valuable.” What do you think? Is streaming and day-and-date releases the future of the movie industry or will theaters make a triumphant return?