If there’s someone out there who I equate with to a true artist in terms of the films he puts out, it’s Edward Norton. I mean, sure there are plenty of others out there, but in terms of the actors and filmmakers who truly care about their body of work as a whole, he has to be included in the conversation. And yet, through it all, he does seem to be pretty forward-thinking in terms of the medium.
When speaking with The Daily Beast, he discussed the amount of opportunity that exists today that has never existed before, and that is in large part due to streamers like Netflix providing that opportunity.
“But I want to be careful. At the same time, I’m always a little leery of ever discussing these things that could be mistaken for griping about it. Because 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. Not even in the mid-to-late-‘90s, when Miramax created this new flowering of opportunity because all the other studios realized, we better make lower-budget auteur-driven things, and we all got to make Being John Malkovich and Magnolia…
“Yeah, a whole bunch of films got made at studios that would have had to vie for the chimera of independent finance, because Miramax forced the studios to revisit a different part of the business model, and all of us coming up in that era got to make this incredible wave of films. This is 10x that level of opportunity, and no one should ever say, is it harder than ever? No, it’s easier than ever to tell complex, long-form, character-driven stories.”
But, of course, we live in an era where a lot of people are actually staying home to watch their movies. So whose fault is that? Some people are putting the blame on Netflix and on blockbusters taking over the cinemas. Norton puts the blame squarely on cinemas.
“If I had to say the single biggest contributor to people preferring to watch things on Netflix versus going to theaters, it’s that the theaters nickel and dime on bulbs. People have no idea how many theaters do this. A lot of filmmakers and cinematographers that I know that have really started to look into this say that more than 60 percent of American theaters are running their projector at almost half the luminosity that they’re required by contract to run it at. It’s the theater chains that are destroying the theatrical experience. Period, full-stop. No one else.
“They are delivering crappy sound and a dim picture, and no one is calling them on it. If they were delivering what they’re supposed to be delivering, people would be going, “Wow, this is amazing, I do not get this at home.” Like Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise with the motion smoothing, when they said to turn off the gaming thing, you’re ruining the work we’re giving to you! Well, I want people to literally walk into their theater and find the manager and say, “If this looks dark, you’re giving me my money back. Because I’m paying—and at the ArcLight, I’m paying premium—for a premium experience.”
“I went in and quality control-tested my movie in a theater that was running Captain Marvel, and you know 14 is the spec that it’s supposed to be running at, and it was running at a 6.2. That means it was literally running at less than half the light that was supposed to be on there. 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.”
You hear that? Tell that to some of your theater-going friends. Start a revolution! Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard this complain. During the era of 3D’s heyday just a few years back, many complained about how dim films were. Honestly, I feel like things have gotten better, but it is very much an experience depending on the theaters.
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SOURCE: Daily Beast