Martin Scorsese warns cinemas invaded by ‘theme park’ films

The director has previously said that Marvel’s output of superhero movies are ‘not cinema’.

Press Association
Last updated: 12 October 2019 - 5.30pm

Martin Scorsese said there has been an “invasion” of “theme park” films in cinemas.

The director has previously said that Marvel’s output of superhero movies are “not cinema” and that he has tried to watch them but failed.

Taking questions after delivering Bafta’s David Lean lecture at the Royal Opera House, he discussed getting his new movie, The Irishman, financed by Netflix.

He added: “Where do young people go to get their films financed now? I have no idea. They are not going to go to a Hollywood studio.

“And then when you get it made, where is it going to be shown, when the theatres are all being taken over by the theme park films?

“Theatres have become amusement parks. That is all fine and good but don’t invade everything else in that sense.

“That is fine and good for those who enjoy that type of film and, by the way, knowing what goes into them now, I admire what they do.

“It’s not my kind of thing, it simply is not. It’s creating another kind of audience that thinks cinemas is that.

“If you have a child and the child wants to see the picture, what are you going to do?

“It’s up to you. The audience that sees them now, the fans that see those pictures now, they were raised on pictures like that.

“The technique is very well done but there is only one Spielberg, there is only one Lucas, James Cameron, it’s a different thing now.

“It’s an invasion, so to speak, in the theatre.”

Scorsese said putting his film, which will also have a cinema release, on a streaming platform was the “trade-off” for making it the way he wanted to.

He said: “We are in a moment not only of evolution but of revolution, in pretty much the whole world, everything we know, the old political systems, it’s almost as if the 21st century is beginning now and technology has gone with it and that means cinema goes with it.

“Yes, see a movie in a theatre, it’s the best with an audience, but the actual concept of cinema has become something that is not definable.

“Something can play as a hologram, something can play as virtual reality, maybe there is going to be an extraordinary epic in virtual reality at some point.

“We have to start expanding what we think of as narrative, music, literature, art and particularly the visual image.”

Scorsese said The Irishman was a difficult proposition to get made because it would reunite him with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci and finally unite him with Al Pacino, who would need to be digitally de-aged for a significant portion of the film, at great expense.

He said: “There were all these elements that came together a little too late for us to make this picture with a Hollywood studio, partially because there were so many flashbacks and I didn’t want to work (with other actors).

“I wanted to make a picture with De Niro now, and Joe, I didn’t want to work with actors pretending to be them younger, half the picture.

“I would have to explain who Frank Sinatra is. They know Sinatra but they don’t know Sinatra.

“Eventually it came up, this idea of the CGI, which I was very suspect of.”

He continued: “I said to De Niro ‘I think I know how to do this’ and what that meant of course was money needed for shooting day but also the cost of the CGI and no Hollywood studio would do this picture, they don’t make movies this way.

“No one was interested in me and Bob, they are interested in me and Leo (DiCaprio), me and someone else, as long as it fits in, but not Bob and I and a story about some older gangsters in the 50s and 60s and 70s.”

The Irishman will be released in UK cinemas in November and will launch on Netflix later this year.

It will be the closing gala of the BFI London Film Festival on October 13, when it will be simulcast in cinemas around the country.

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