Martin Scorsese at the premiere of the film “Shutter Island” at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival. Photo Credit: Siebbi
I am sure you are aware that legendary director Martin Scorsese, whilst promoting his new movie The Irishman has made some comments regarding the current state of cinema and the dominance currently shown by the superhero genre, especially that of the gargantuan MCU franchise. Since then as I am sure you are aware, there have been many artists who work in this genre who have come out fighting against Scorsese’s comments, it may have been better had he never said anything at all, but, he’s gone and done it again.
This Sunday Scorsese was speaking at a press conference for The Irishman at the BFI London Film Festival and here is what he said, courtesy of THR.
“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.”
The comments echoed statements he made Saturday during BAFTA’s annual David Lean lecture, claiming that movie theaters are “all being taken over” by theme park films.
“Theaters have become amusement parks. That is all fine and good but don’t invade everything else in that sense,” he said. “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.”
I am not sure why Scorsese feels that he has to take some sort of stand here, is it because The Irishman was funded by Netflix to appear on their streaming service after a limited theatre release? I’m sure he didn’t have to agree to that if it wasn’t to his tastes? I am also sure there are many movie fans out there who echo Scorsese’s feelings and don’t like the current superhero trend. What I am not sure is why people who feel that way need to try and take some outside action to prevent cinema going in a direction they don’t personally like. It feels to me like Scorsese is saying he doesn’t like these movies and therefore someone should force them to stop?
I think what Scorsese is probably not seeing, is the change of landscape and how this superhero genre is practically keeping theatre chains going at this point. The excitement of a new movie, the mammoth release weekends happening four or five times a year and the fear of missing out because spoilers are so prevalent on today’s social media platforms, has made opening weekend a necessity for most fans of the MCU or Star Wars, or the DCEU. That’s money coming in and without it, would there even be as many theaters, and if there are no theaters left, it won’t matter whether Scorsese likes the movies showing on the few that are left or not.
I am a fan of Scorsese for sure, but I am one of those people that doesn’t particularly like going to theaters, I much prefer watching at home. If I could pay the same money for the latest blockbuster but watch it home, I would choose that option every time. Other people love the experience and that’s fine, but my point is that for a movie like The Irishman, I can wait one month and watch the movie through my Netflix subscription. The only thing keeping me going to theaters right now is the fear of spoilers, especially given the job I do.
So with this much money coming through theaters doors, I think it’s plain illogical for Scorsese to suggest that theaters need to ‘take action’, take action against what, their profits, the only thing keeping people working there gainfully employed? Sorry, Marty, you are a phenomenal director, you really are, but you are so wrong on this one it’s not even funny. Maybe someone would explain all this to him and see how he responds?
I also want to make one last point about blockbuster movies, they’ve always been there, always dominated the theatre since Spielberg basically invented the idea with Jaws in 75′. It’s not superhero movies, it’s the rise of technology to allow us to stay at home and be entertained which has caused this situation. In fact, I say once again that if it wasn’t for the likes of the MCU, where would theater chains be right now?
What do you think of Scorsese’s latest attempt to get on his soapbox? Leave your thoughts down below.
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