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Steven Spielberg says HBO Max threw directors ‘under the bus’

Even before the pandemic, movie theaters weren’t in their best shape. Then came a new coronavirus, particularly transmissible in closed spaces full of people. Theaters have been closed for months, and when they reopened it was with strict rules on crowds, cleaning and masks – all necessary for safety, of course, but not exactly conducive to a relaxing night out. ‘escape.

While theaters were closed, some studios sold some of their titles to streaming services. Others have used their unreleased productions to bolster their own streaming sites. Warner Bros., for example, released all of its 2021 big-screen titles simultaneously in theaters and on its own HBO Max streaming service. Subscribers were thrilled, but many filmmakers were upset that titles they had created to watch in theaters were dumped on streaming.

In probably the most famous example, Christopher Nolan – who had worked with Warner Bros. for years – responded to Warners’ HBO Max plan by making the public statement “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the biggest studio movies and woke up to find they were working for the worst streaming service.

Steven Spielberg has mostly been quiet during the kerfuffle, but with a new movie opening (in theaters) this month, he weighed in on the controversy during an interview with The New York Times. As he said:

The pandemic has created an opportunity for streaming platforms to increase their subscriptions to record highs and also to throw some of my best filmmaker friends under the bus because their movies weren’t unceremoniously theatrically released. They got paid and the movies were suddenly relegated, in this case, to HBO Max. The case I’m talking about. And then everything started to change.

Spielberg added that while he thinks some prefer the streaming model, for many people “the magic of being in a social situation with a group of strangers is a tonic.”

Count me among them. by Spielberg The Fabelmans opens in theaters in limited release this week and expands to more screens on November 23.

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