As box-office analysts have indicated, the recovery this year of the cinema box-office has been a good start. However, we’re still a long way from movies being back to their pre-pandemic popularity.
“Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way Of Water” have been juggernauts, Marvel films are chugging along fine, and there’s been a handful of smaller hits like “Everything Everywhere All at Once”. Otherwise though, it has been a pretty barren year.
Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, the “Bronson” and “Only God Forgives” director, recently spoke about the issues with the film industry and says cinema is perfectly fine – it’s the Hollywood system that is “falling apart desperately” and must reinvent itself.
Refn offered up his take on the current theatrical marketplace on the latest episode of Deadline’s Crew Call podcast whilst out promoting his new Netflix series “Copenhagen Cowboy”.
Refn was embraced by Hollywood for his still most mainstream effort to date with “Drive” in 2011, but he says such a film would be hard to make today:
“I just think it would be very difficult to finance because the ecosystem is in such freefall. But absolutely, I think you could make any film with a heart nowadays. In a way, it will probably be good for the system. It will probably be something that moves things forward again.”
Refn says the best remedy for Hollywood lies in challenging itself to make movies that compete with streaming platforms where filmmakers generally have more creative control and freedom:
Hollywood is very seductive and intoxicating, but it’s also a system that’s falling apart desperately, and I think they’re doing it to themselves more than anything else. Who knows? I would love to make something grandiose and big, but I would want to maintain my freedom, my impulse and creative control.
The theatrical market is in its own redefinition of existence. For cinema to survive, we need to go back and make films again. There also needs to be an ecosystem that reflects the opportunities.
Streaming has forced the theatrical market to reinvent themselves as well. I don’t think theatrical will ever go away. I think theatrical will always exist, but it needs to be challenged in order to become better, more sufficient and more meaningful.
Refn says he’s “always cherished my independence” as a filmmaker who is why he has vowed he’ll never make a mainstream film again. Refn’s new “Copenhagen Cowboy” series is set to premiere on Netflix on January 5th.