Anthony Mackie has been a fixture of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since making his debut as Sam Wilson/Falcon in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014), which means the actor has had a front row seat in watching massive event films squeeze out mid-budget and smaller films from multiplexes. Event films have pushed some of the best directors in the world to streaming services (see Martin Scorsese taking “The Irishman” to Netflix, which has new films by Spike Lee, David Fincher, and Charlie Kaufman coming later this year). As Mackie tells The Daily Beast in a new interview, “To be frank about it, filmmakers don’t work in film anymore.”
“If we look at the movies we grew up loving, that we think are the best movies of all time, those movies won’t be made now by studios; they’ll be made by streaming services,” Mackie says. “So if your movie isn’t an event—if you’re not in ‘Avengers’ or ‘Suicide Squad’ or ‘Star Wars’—it’s very hard to get people to go to the movie theater, for many different reasons. Fear factor, cost. I have kids, and for me to take my kids to the movies, it’s $115. So we watch movies at home. As soon as Fortune 500 companies bought all the film studios, the idea of making films was dead. So that being said, the only place you can go and work with the filmmakers you adore is streaming services.”
One director collaboration on Mackie’s wish list is David O. Russell, but the actor says it’s no longer a guarantee that top directors can get their projects developed at studios. “You can’t go to a studio and say, ‘Give me $20 million, I want to make this small movie,’ because they’re not going to do it,” the actor says. “Either you can make a movie for $2 million or for $100 million. It’s the worst business model of all time.”
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Mackie maintains that “great movies are being made, they’re just not being made for the theaters, because young people don’t want to sit in a room and chill out. They want to move, and watch it on their cell phones and tablets. They can’t sit still; it’s a different world now.” The actor also points to the rising costs of going to the movies as another reason young people are turned off from going to multiplexes.
“If you take a girl to a movie theater now, it’s $20 for each ticket, and she’s going to want popcorn and nachos, and then you add two sodas, and you’re out $70 and you haven’t even gotten in the theater yet,” Mackie says. “We used to go to the dollar show in New Orleans, and you’d get popcorn for $5, soda for $2.50, you’re out-of-pocket $10! So now you can pay $7 [for streaming], or you go on two dates a month, and that’s $150 just to see a movie.”
Mackie’s future is full of streaming at the moment. The actor’s new film “Seberg” opened in theaters this month but is backed by Amazon, which means it’s only a matter of time before it hits Amazon Prime. Mackie leads the second season of Netflix’s “Altered Carbon” (now streaming) and will be front and center for the MCU’s first streaming series, “Falcon and the Winter Solider,” streaming on Disney+ this August.