The London Film Festival closed with Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman this weekend, and just like in the US it has received great reviews and generated awards buzz.

The movie is at the centre of the ongoing debate regarding distribution.  It’s a Netflix original film and will get a limited theatrical release for a number of weeks before a global streaming debut.

This has, of course, made the more traditional sectors of the film industry, especially exhibitors, very excitable.  They are committed to defending the status quo and not allowing any challengers onto their turf.  AMC and Regal are even going as far as to refuse to screen the film.

At a press conference before the film’s screening, Scorsese was direct in delivering a reality check:

“There’s no doubt that seeing a film with an audience is really important. There is a problem though: we have to make the film. We’ve run out of room, in a sense; there was no room for us to make this picture, for many reasons.

[But] having the backing of a company that says that you will have no interference, you can make the picture as you want – the trade-off being: it streams, with theatrical distribution prior to that. I figure, that’s a chance we take, on this particular project.”

Scorsese then added to his comments from last week regarding the glut of superhero movies taking over theatres right now:

“It’s not cinema, it’s something else. We shouldn’t be invaded by it. We need cinemas to step up and show films that are narrative films.

Theaters have become amusement parks. That is all fine and good

but don’t invade everything else in that sense. That is fine and good for those who enjoy that type of film and, by the way, knowing what goes into them now, I admire what they do. It’s not my kind of thing, it simply is not. It’s creating another kind of audience that thinks cinema is that.”

The Irishman is released in select cinemas on November 1st in the US before being available on Netflix worldwide from November 27th.

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