In what can only be described as a sign of the times, Martin Scorsese has chosen a non-traditional path for his latest film The Irishman.
The mobster biopic was released in select cinemas on the 8th of November, only to become available on Netflix just weeks later on the 27th of November.
With Netflix buying the rights for the star-studded film at $US105 million and covering the reported $US160 million of costs, it’s no surprise the streaming company chose to put the film on the platform so soon after the cinematic release.
In fact, the short theatrical window essentially just served as a way to qualify the film for the Academy Awards (where it is expected to do well).
With a cast including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, the film is arguably Netflix’s biggest project to date.
But in a telling interview, Scorsese has highlighted the challenge of bringing Hollywood’s grandeur to the reality of digital platforms.
Speaking with renowned film critic Peter Travers, Scorsese urged onlookers to maximise the viewing experience.
“I would suggest if you ever want to see one of my pictures, or most films – please, please don’t look at it on a phone, please. An iPad, a big iPad, maybe,” he said.
The comments have since gone viral, prompting social media users to share all the different – and often hilarious – ways they are watching the epic film.
— khoi | exams (@fkaswig) December 2, 2019
— Hart Benj. (@OzyVonHaddock) November 29, 2019
— Marty Perkins (@wherethemartyat) December 3, 2019
With a running time around the three and a half hour mark, it is to be expected viewers take advantage of the convenience Netflix allows.
This is compounded by the fact an average user now watches around 70 minutes of video on their phone per day.
But Scorsese confessed he has never thought about creating films for the mobile screen.
“Certainly, I could say, the past 20-some odd years, I’ve made films both for television and — in terms of the screen size — and for the theater,” he told Travers.
“Never for a phone. I don’t know how to do it. I wish I could, I don’t know how. No, I don’t get it.”
But with made-for-mobile video platform Quibi set to launch next year, with content from the likes of Steven Spielberg and Idris Elba, Scorsese can see the writing on the wall.
“Films will be made for phones,” he said.
Netflix moves into cinemas
The popularity of The Irishman on mobile screens is perfectly juxtaposed by Netflix’s recent purchase of the Paris Theatre in New York.
Netflix will use the cinema for special events and screening original films.
It also means the streaming company will no longer have to rely on independent cinemas to show films like The Irishman, as major cinema companies will not play films that do not play exclusively on the big screen for 30 days.
With less red tape, it is more than likely Netflix will continue to produce critically acclaimed pictures in a bid to further establish itself as a legitimate player in the film industry.
“We are incredibly proud to preserve this historic New York institution so it can continue to be a cinematic home for film lovers,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said.
It has also been rumoured Netflix plans to buy the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.