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Steve McQueen Says Cinema Is a Communal Experience: ‘There’s No Point Looking at a Movie on Your Laptop at Home’

It doesn't sound like McQueen will be making a movie for Netflix anytime soon.

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen


Steve McQueen is here to put the debate over streaming versus theaters to rest. The director returns to the big screen this fall with “Widows,” his first directorial effort since winning best picture with “12 Years a Slave,” and he makes it clear in a recent interview with Uproxx that one of the big reasons he made the heist thriller is so it could be seen in theaters with a big crowd experiencing all of the emotions together.

“It’s a communal experience,” McQueen said. “That’s what cinema is. And that’s why I made this film. Sometimes there’s a time to cheer and sometimes there’s a time to cry. And we have that both in this movie.”

McQueen elaborated on this thoughts earlier in the interview, telling Uproxx that cinema is meant to be experienced with an audience and not individually in front of your laptop at home. The director did not reference any streaming platforms by name (there’s no direct Netflix bashing here), although he did make it clear the strength of the movies is not found on laptops.

“That’s the good thing about cinema. [There’s] no point looking at a movie on your laptop on your own at home,” McQueen said. “The thrill of cinema is to be in an audience with 200 people, 500 people or a thousand people and watching something. I remember when I saw ‘North by Northwest’ with my wife when we first dated. About 20 years ago. That movie, and the reaction…I mean, people applauding and all that. It just gives you a skip in your step as you exit the cinema.”

“Widows” is earning strong reviews from critics after its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. 20th Century Fox opens the heist thriller nationwide November 16.

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