Mike Flanagan says Netflix is “actively hostile towards physical media”
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Mike Flanagan says Netflix is “actively hostile towards physical media”

The director of Doctor Sleep, The Haunting of Hill House and The Fall of the House of Usher, as well as several other horror works, Mike Flanagan, has recently spoken of his disappointment in Netflix and their seeming lack of interest in releasing movies and TV shows on physical media.

Flanagan has been involved with Netflix for many years and has released films such as Hush and Gerald’s Game and series like The Haunting of Bly Manor through the streaming service to widespread critical acclaim.

One might have thought that the relationship between Netflix and Flanagan would have been all roses then, but according to the filmmaker, he had recently changed his mind about how they conduct their business.

Writing on his personal blog, Flanagan recently admitted that having worked “in streaming for the past few years”, he has “reconsidered [his] position on piracy”. “You could say my feelings on the matter have ‘evolved’,” Flanagan noted.

According to the director, in recent years, he has tried “very hard” to get Netflix to release his movies and TV shows on DVD and Blu-ray but was shot down at “every turn”. Flanagan explained, “It became clear very fast that their only priority was subscriptions and that they were actively hostile to the idea of physical media.”

Netflix have had some “obligations” to release a handful of titles on physical media and had also “flirted with releasing juggernaut hits like Stranger Things,” but the truth is that DVD and Blu-ray releases are simply not their priority.

The result for Flanagan was that Netflix detailed a “very dangerous point of view.” The director wrote, “Netflix have proven that they can affect great change in the industry, they sometimes fail to see the difference between disruption and damage,” adding that the streaming service can do “enormous harm to the very concept of film preservation.”

Netflix had, of course, originally started as a mail-order DVD rental service before eventually switching to digital online streaming. In the blog post, Flanagan admitted to tracking down a number of bootlegged copies of his works for Netflix because they are the only way to properly preserve his work.

The horror filmmaker went on to point out that “the list of titles that have been removed from streaming services is growing quickly, quietly, and insidiously.” Netflix is well known for removing titles from their catalogue, so as Flanagan explains, physical media is important in terms of cinematic and televisual preservation.