Quentin Tarantino doesn’t recognize the film industry anymore.
The “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” auteur opened up about the state of cinema while on the New York City leg of his book tour for essay anthology “Cinema Speculation.” During a conversation with moderator Elvis Mitchell at The Town Hall, Tarantino mused that the next four years are pivotal for the survival of movie theaters, speculating that while boutique cinemas will “thrive,” larger chains will flounder. Tarantino, to note, owns the historic New Beverly in Los Angeles. He said that he will be on the receiving end of said boutique cinema success.
Yet, it is the tangibility of cinema that Tarantino inevitably ties with the arts’ history. Does a Netflix movie count as a “movie,” Tarantino asked, or is it considered a TV show of some kind due to the streaming quality?
“What is cinema?” Tarantino wondered.
Mitchell, whose documentary “Is That Black Enough For You?!?” is now streaming on Netflix, jokingly defended streaming platforms. Tarantino added that a 30-day theatrical window for one of his films before going to streaming will “diminish my returns.”
In 2022, Tarantino launched a Video Archives podcast with “Pulp Fiction” co-writer Roger Avary to revisit beloved VHS tapes in the modern age, seemingly as a rebuke of streaming. On the podcast, he recently said that the current era of film is tied with the 1950s and ’80s for being “the worst in Hollywood history.” (Via NME.)
“Even though the ‘80s was the time that I probably saw more movies in my life than ever — at least as far as going out to the movies was concerned — I do feel that ‘80s cinema is, along with the ‘50s, the worst era in Hollywood history,” Tarantino said. “Matched only by now, matched only by the current era!”
Tarantino called the rise of streaming “depressing” in an interview with ScreenCrush’s The Reel One podcast in 2021. “I’m glad that I’m working with Sony, which doesn’t deal with that. They haven’t gone down that route,” Tarantino said. “It just really makes me think about 2019, when we came out with ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,’ it really makes me think that, wow, myself and ‘Joker’ and ‘1917,’ it was like we were birds that just flew through a window just as the window was slamming shut. And we practically got our tail feathers caught by the slam. But we got out in time.”
Tarantino previously partnered with Netflix to release the 2015 film “The Hateful Eight” in an extended cut and has announced an eight-episode limited series, presumably for a streamer.