Steven Spielberg has spoken out against streaming services that block theatrical releases for movies.
While speaking to The New York Times, the West Side Story director slammed streaming services for refusing to give films created for their platforms a theatrical release period.
In the interview published on Wednesday, Steven argued that streamers took advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to remove the practice of theatrical release and have delayed bringing it back in bad faith.
"The pandemic created an opportunity for streaming platforms to raise their subscriptions to record-breaking levels and also throw some of my best filmmaker friends under the bus as their movies were unceremoniously not given theatrical releases," the director remarked. "They were paid off and the films were suddenly relegated to, in this case, HBO Max... And then everything started to change."
While Steven acknowledged some viewers may appreciate being able to watch new movies at home, he insisted they may also have appreciated the "magic of being in a social situation with a bunch of strangers" that a cinema provides.
"I think there has to be a concerted effort on the part of movie directors to demand that the streaming services footing the bill for most of these films give their movies a chance to be exhibited theatrically and not just in four theatres to qualify for awards," he continued, adding the effort should come from "the WGA (Writers Guild), the DGA (Directors Guild) and the Academy".
The Fabelmans, Spielberg's new semi-biographical drama, opened in selected cinemas on Friday and will expand wide later this month.