Fresh from opening up with his thoughts on his time as The Incredible Hulk and why he wasn’t in the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward, Edward Norton is sharing more opinions. This time on the fight that is coming to define our current age of movies.
Netflix vs. Theatres.
Everyone who is anyone in the world of cinema has an opinion on this. The debate over the one, true definition of cinema and it’s ability to survive in the future has drawn combatants ranging from Steven Spielberg to Martin Scorsese. Everything is up for debate including theatrical windows, home entertainment, direct-to-streaming viability and the impact of blockbuster universes on indie opportunity.
Big studios just won’t take risks. Recognised IP with four-quadrant appeal is the order of the day. Streamers are stepping into the void this has left.
Edward Norton is out promoting Motherless Brooklyn which is getting a theatrical release. However he has plenty to say about the theatrical experience and it isn’t what you might think.
Speaking to The Daily Beast, Norton was characteristically blunt with his opinions:
“A lot of filmmakers and cinematographers that I know that have really started to look into this say that more than 60% of American theaters are running their projector at almost half the luminosity that they’re required by contract to run it at.
They are delivering crappy sound and a dim picture, and no one is calling them on it.
You want to train people. Like, go get your money back. If the movie looks dark, it was – go get your money back! I think we should rally around that. I really do.”
He also doesn’t agree that streaming services are a threat and are ruining the theatrical experience. In fact, he has a lot to say about their power to unlock and champion creativity:
“To be super clear, I would say that today, as a creative person who’s interested in telling stories, there has never been more opportunity to get original and diverse visions of a narrative across to other people – ever, in the history of American cinema, television, whatever you want to call it… it’s easier than ever to tell complex, long-form, character-driven stories.
Netflix invested more in Roma theatrically – theatrically – than any boutique label at any studio would have by a factor of five. They put a Spanish-language black-and-white film all over the world in theaters. Hundreds of theaters, not just a few; as many as Sony Pictures Classics would have done. They put more money behind it, in a theatrical context, than anybody would have.
You can’t tell me there’s a whole lot of people making black-and-white Spanish-language films and putting that investment behind them. And you can’t tell me that there’s a lot of places making five-part documentaries about the Central Park Five.”
Norton also said that Netflix would have given him a bigger budget and a quicker deal for Motherless Brooklyn without requiring actors to work for scale.
He went the traditional distribution method because he wanted to pay tribute to the older, smaller films that influenced him.