Steven Spielberg may not be at war with Netflix to the degree we thought he was. Recently, it was revealed that Spielberg, the Oscar-winning director behind movies such as Saving Private Ryan and Jurassic Park, was possibly looking to propose new rules to the Academy that would make it more difficult for Netflix to qualify for Oscars. Now, it looks like the hostility may have died down and, what's more, it may have all been overblown in the first place.
According to a new report, Steven Spielberg met with Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos at San Vincente Bungalows, a new private club in West Hollywood. The two were having dinner together and there is no indication that it was in any way contentious. These are the two top people from each side of the debate being civil toward one another in public. Perhaps they've worked things out between one another?
The crux of the argument is that Steven Spielberg believes in preserving the theatrical experience. This is something he's been very vocal about. He's also indicated that Netflix should ultimately qualify for Emmys rather than the Oscars, since they only give token theatrical releases to their movies in order to qualify for Oscars. Spielberg, a member of the Motion Picture Academy's board of governors, was reportedly looking to call for a new rule that would require longer, exclusive theatrical windows to allow movies to qualify for the Academy Awards, which signaled something of a war with Netflix, who did very well at the Oscars with Roma this year.
However, Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, a longtime friend and collaborator of Steven Spielberg's, recently spoke at SXSW. He was asked specifically about Spielberg's comments regarding the longer theatrical windows, which many took as a direct shot at Netflix. Katzenberg had this to say, signaling that perhaps things were blown out of proportion.
"I talked to Steven about this yesterday. I asked him very specifically, I don't have any skin in this game anymore, he said, 'I absolutely did not say that.' He actually said nothing. What happened is a journalist was onto a story about this and had heard a rumor about Steven. They called a spokesperson to get a comment and honestly, just twisted it around. One, Steven didn't say that, and two, he is not going to the academy in April with some sort of plan. But he has not opined at all, nor has he aligned with some specific thing."
Netflix, for their part, once this news began circulating, responded with a tweet proclaiming their love for cinema and defending their place within the industry. While it's true that Steven Spielberg still wants to preserve the theatrical experience, he may not view Netflix as the enemy. Whatever the case, it seems that this whole thing will likely be resolved in a more civilized manner than had previously been indicated. This news was previously reported by The Hollywood Reporter.