Steven Soderbergh on the query of whether or not cinemas can survive past 2021

In the past few years, Steven Soderbergh has established itself in the streaming world. Soderbergh has directed or produced content for Netflix, Quibi and soon HBO Max (with his new film Let Them All Talk). He has shown the willingness to make tangible use of the growing world of streaming. With that in mind, it seems natural that Soderbergh would be asked to weigh HBO Max’s recent announcement regarding the decision to release Warner Bros. ” 2021 slate – including large tent poles Godzilla versus Kong, dune, and The matrix 4 – on the streaming platform on the same day as its theatrical release. Soderbergh, a creative with experience working with streamers, has a strong opinion about sending potentially big blockbusters to HBO Max to hurt movie theater audience?


It turns out that Soderbergh definitely has some thoughts – and they’re not at all what you would expect. Let Them All Talk director had an opportunity to discuss Warner Bros.-HBO Max’s decision and whether it signals the end of cinemas as we know them while promoting his upcoming film. The subject was raised early on in Soderbergh’s recent interview with The Daily Beast. Soderbergh initially shared the following on whether the Warner Bros.-HBO Max announcement would signal an end to the cinema as we know it.

“Not at all,” replied Soderbergh. “”[The streaming push is] Just a reaction to an economic reality that I think everyone will soon have to acknowledge. Even with a vaccine, the 2021 movie business won’t be robust enough to justify the amount of P&A you have to spend to get a movie into wide release. There is no scenario where a theater that is 50 percent full, or at least cannot be made 100 percent full, is a viable paradigm for getting a movie out. But this will change. We will reach a point where anyone who wants to go to the cinema feels safe to go to the cinema. ”


Image via Warner Bros.

Soderbergh continued to praise the sobering film that temporarily preferred streaming big films, explaining the financial implications of the decision: “I think someone sat down and did a very clear analysis of what COVID will do over the next year Even with a potential vaccine, saying I don’t see this as workable in 2021. Because let’s be clear, there is no gold mine in the entertainment industry that equates to a movie that makes a billion dollars or more in theaters that is this holy grail. So the theater business is not going to be lost. There are too many companies that have invested too much money in the prospect of putting out a movie that will explode in theaters – there is nothing like it. Come back. But I think Warners says: Not as soon as you think. ”

When The Daily Beast asked Soderbergh if a potentially groundbreaking move like Warner Bros.’s move to moving his 2021 slate to HBO Max could have an irreversible impact on the theatrical exhibition, the director openly and optimistically faced the problem.

“I think it will finally get the studios and NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) to have some practical and realistic conversations about windows,” Soderbergh told The Daily Beast, “because there has to be more fluidity. There will be give none. ” A template that fits every film. Every film is different. You need the flexibility. If you are in a bad situation and you have a movie that you opened wide and you know that Friday 3pm is not working, you need to be able to get it on a platform asap. You have spent so much money doing this job and if you haven’t you should be able to do anything you want. It will be theater anyway, because you bombed. ”

let them all talk meryl-streep-lucas-hedges-hbo-max

Image via HBO max

When The Daily Beast and Soderbergh got out of this topic of conversation to focus on Let Them All Talk, Soderbergh was asked if he would instead see theater as a place where they only show tall-budget films at the mast-level (which implies) that it might be a great way for bricks and mortar to recover in the near future). Soderbergh partially replied, “One variable that hasn’t really been magnified is that now that we’re living in a purely digital world, all of these big theater chains have the ability to turn into repertoire theaters showing them movies from the past 120 years for an audience that has never seen them in a theater, there are all those movies from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and early years that no one saw in a theater went on with, “The other thing is, every time we think it’s just going to be tent poles and blockbusters – and art house films on the other end – something pops up in the middle and works. Downton Abbey made a lot of money. This movie came out while we were discussing Let Them All Talk with Warners, and I pointed it out as an example of what I consider our audience. This is our population, this is the audience that I want. they showed up for it. ”

Let Them All Talk arrives on HBO Max on December 10th. Watch the Let Them All Talk trailer here and get more HBO Max updates here.


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About the author

Allie Gemmill
(1268 articles published)

Allie Gemmill is the weekend content editor at Collider. You can find previous bylines at Bustle, Teen Vogue, Inverse, ScreenRant, SheKnows, VICE and Atom Tickets. When they’re not talking about movies they love at Collider, Allie is usually the umpteenth time seeing Uncut Gems because of the need to keep her brand.

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