AT&T should not be in the movie business! Nor should Comcast. The streamers have their place but Netflix and Amazon should become cinema owners via the purchase of one of the top seven circuits exclusive of any Chinese properties.
|36 Years For A Remake|
AT&T has no compassion for the cinema as an art form or, for that matter, entertainment medium. With a $150+billion debt load their only concern is making money - as much and as fast as they can. So, one of their solutions is to have the entire Warner Bros. legacy of films and all new content streamed through HBO day-and-date with cinemas.
As Denis Villeneuve, Director of the upcoming 'Dune' stated, "AT&T is using prominent images from our movie to promote their streaming service. They have hijacked one of the most respectable and important studios in film history. They have absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience."
Villeneuve couldn't be more right! Filmmaking is a collaboration, relying on a team of artists and skilled trades people coupled with visionary producers, writers, and distributors. Streamers are funding providers and producers for the cinema industry but they cannot sustain the cinema industry. Viewing a film at home is not and will never be the equivalent of viewing a film at a cinema. Many films require the scope and scale of a cinema to impart their emotional impact.
|Original cast photo|
AT&T's decision means 'Dune" won't have the opportunity to perform financially in order to be viable and piracy will ultimately win out. In a recent interview, AT&T's head, John Stankey stated, "the streaming horse left the barn." Yes, John and it went right to the meathouse.
With the pandemic now in its 2nd wave it was thought that 'Dune's' release would be postponed for a year. The plan was that 'Dune' would open at cinemas in October 2021, after the vaccinations were well advanced - but that scenario was tanked with the AT&T/Warners decision to have 'Dune's' tandem release: cinemas and streaming.
According to Villeneuve, "Dune is by far the best movie I've ever made. My team and I devoted more than three years to make it a unique big screen experience. Our movie's image and sound were meticulously designed to be seen in theaters."
Cinema, on the silver screen is more than a business, it is an art form and one of a few left that can be enjoyed as a collective experience we share with others. The artistic community should be up-in-arms regarding what is happening to 'their' industry.
|Director & Cast|
It is my strong belief that the cinema will return and not because the movie industry needs it, but because people need the cinema. Companies in the film business, be they film-makers, streamers, or large telecom entities must take on the responsibility, respect, and regard to protect this vital cultural medium. The revenue and profits generated by movies for these mega-companies, be it AT&T, Comcast, Sony, Disney, etc. is a negligible piece of their overall financial profile. But it is a legacy of our culture and history.