‘1917’ Director Sam Mendes Thinks There’s Hope for the Theatrical Experience

     January 6, 2020

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You’ve no doubt heard plenty of filmmakers bemoan the impending death of the theatrical experience – now that we’re fully in the streaming era, and platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix are offering up A-list original films from big name directors like Martin Scorsese, it’s harder to justify driving out to a dark room full of strangers and spending up to $20 for a single ticket to a movie you can’t pause or rewind. But director Sam Mendes, whose most recent film 1917 just won Best Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes, doesn’t think people will stop going to movie theaters altogether, as long as filmmakers continue to produce movies that make the theater experience irresistible.

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Image via Universal Pictures

“I am optimistic, actually, but it’s in the hands of the filmmakers more than anything else,” Mendes said to The Hollywood Reporter backstage at the Golden Globes. “It’s up to filmmakers to make films that need to be seen on a big screen and make an audience feel like if they don’t see it on the big screen, they’ll miss out… I think what’s important is that filmmakers are ambitious and that they use the tools of cinema, surround sound, IMAX, and every fiber of their being to make big stories for big screens.”

And while he pointed out that adult dramas, like his 1999 Oscar-winner American Beauty, are much less likely to get theatrical releases nowadays, he doesn’t necessarily feel like that’s a bad thing, because “..you have an incredible platform for those movies to be seen by millions of people on television screens. Big and wonderful television screens. I don’t think, as a director of those movies, I would have been disappointed if Away We Go was seen in a two-week theatrical window and then on TVs.”

Truly, Mendes’ ambitious World War I drama 1917 is a film that demands to be seen in the theater, so the guy knows what he’s talking about. For more about 1917, you can read Collider’s review and watch our video interview with Mendes about the film.

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