Should a movie made for a streaming service such as Netflix or Amazon be considered a theatrical release, or a TV movie? Both streaming giants have skirted the issue by releasing big films of theirs for a token amount of time in theaters (around a week or so) to claim the movies had limited theatrical runs, but some are now claiming that is a thin margin, and that technically the streaming giants are just a new form of television, and the films they make should still be considered “made-f0r-TV-movies,” and not eligible for Oscars given out at the Academy Awards (and should instead be given television’s highest honor, the Emmy). One of the most prominent voices to come out recently for this movement is Steven Spielberg, who specifically spoke about Netflix, as the streaming giant has done relatively well at the Academy Awards in the past few years with films like ‘Mudbound’ and ‘Okja.’ Spielberg shared his thoughts with ITV News recently while out promoting his new release, ‘Ready Player One,’ stating:
“I don’t believe that films that are just given token qualifications, in a couple of theaters for less than a week, should qualify for the Academy Award nominations. Fewer and fewer filmmakers are going to struggle to raise money, or to compete at Sundance and possibly get one of the specialty labels to release their films theatrically. And more of them are going to let the SVOD [Streaming Video On-Demand] businesses finance their films, maybe with the promise of a slight, one-week theatrical window to qualify for awards But, in fact, once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie.”
Spielberg might have a point, but then again, he is from a different generation, and perhaps at some point it might be pointless to even think about movies in terms like “made for TV” or “theatrical run.” In the near future we might just see a movie as “a movie” regardless of how it is released, and that might not necessarily be a bad thing.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you even really have an opinion, i.e. do you even really pay attention to awards or how a movie is released, or do you just wait for everything to come out on Netflix anyway? Share your thoughts in the comments below!