Ever since Netflix became more of a player with their original films, it seems like it has created a bit of a war between the streamer and exhibitors. For exhibitors, it seems like the streaming platform has been encroaching on their territory and that must look even more apparent given that the global pandemic has made streaming platforms a more viable option for moviegoers since going to movie theaters has been on shaky ground. Apparently, if you were to ask Vue International head Tim Richards about the quality of the typical Netflix original film, he would tell you that they’re not even worthy of being shown on the big screen.
Vue International is one of the world’s leading cinema operators, and the rather candid statement came during the recent CJ Cinema Summit webinar. In an effort to find solutions to the ongoing crisis that has crippled the moviegoing experience, entertainment industry experts made the decision to come together for online weekly summits called the CJ Cinema Summit. Hosted via webinar, the most recent 90-minute summit discussed how to move forward in light of major delays to films such as NO TIME TO DIE. While speaking during this week’s summit, Tim Richards of Vue International reportedly made the comment that “there’s nothing that Netflix releases which is worth screening in theatres.” Twitter user Anton Volkov posted news of the remark via a Tweet and Volkov followed up that Tweet with a direct quote that appears to be from Richards, stating, “I’d challenge anyone to tell me what’s the last good film they saw on Netflix.” You can check out the tweets from Volkov below:
“I’d challenge anyone to tell me what’s the last good film they saw on Netflix” pic.twitter.com/l4sevQ3VdZ
— Anton Volkov (@antovolk) October 8, 2020
To his credit, probably realizing the comment was a bit harsh and polarizing, Richards tried to clean it up a bit by saying, in regards to Netflix movies, “you can find an exception or two, but there’s not much out there.” This seems to indicate that he believes SOME Netflix movies are worthy of screening in theaters but not many. Despite some minor back-peddling on his part, the comment is sure to be met with stiff opposition by many, especially considering the streaming giant’s massive output and influence over the past several years. On one hand, many filmmakers and performers have praised Netflix for giving them complete artistic freedom to make the projects that they want, something that major studios seem to resist. On the other hand, you have directors like Christopher Nolan and, especially, Steven Spielberg who has previously argued that Netflix films shouldn’t be contenders for Oscars and are simply “television films.” I see both sides of this argument, especially when you’re a filmmaker making a film built for the theatrical experience but I also think some of these filmmakers have to get with the times and adapt.
Honestly, there are some Netflix films that are made for trash entertainment and others that are worthy of praise and admiration. This is the same for any films that are released theatrically through the major studio system. This is why I think his comment is a bit off base and seems more driven by frustration with the current state of movie theaters during the pandemic.
Do YOU think Netflix films are worthy enough to be screened theatrically?