Netflix CEO says classic epic movie is just as good on your phone
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Netflix CEO says classic epic movie is just as good on your phone

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has said that watching some of history’s biggest movies, or epic films, is just as good on a phone screen as it would be in the cinema. 

In an interview with The New York Times, Sarandos attempted to get across the value and potential of Netflix, by discussing it in relation to huge blockbuster movies. He claimed that the cultural phenomenon of ‘Barbenheimer’, as Barbie and Oppenheimer landed in cinemas on the same day, would have been just as impactful if those movies were simply on the streaming platform.

But mostly, he argues that watching something on a screen is the same as, or as good as, watching it on the big screen. For this point, he recalls a memory of his own son watching one of cinema’s biggest historical epics on his phone. “There’s no reason to believe that the movie itself is better in any size of screen for all people,” he told the magazine. “My son’s an editor. He is 28 years old, and he watched Lawrence of Arabia on his phone.”

With an over three-hour-long run time, many people would have relegated Lawrence Of Arabia to the realm of the big screen, or at least a TV. There certainly feels like there’s a mental block over watching more ‘high-art’ films on the phone screener that a viewer might happily watch episodes of whatever TV show they’re binging. 

David Lynch has spoken at length about this as he said, “If you’re playing the movie on a telephone, you will never in a trillion years experience the film.” In an interview included as a bonus feature on the Inland Empire DVD, he discussed the downfalls of easy-access media and streaming services. “You’ll think you have experienced it, but you’ll be cheated. It’s such a sadness, that you think you’ve seen a film, on your fucking telephone. Get real,” he continued. 

In Cahiers du Cinema, Lynch expanded on how this has impacted filmmaking as well as film viewing. “Before, we made a feature film for the big screen, with nice big speakers. We built the film as if it were a theater itself. You could sit down and actually have this experience of stepping into a whole new world,” he said, “Now that’s all in the bloody history books! It’s distressing.”

However, with such a vast wealth of cinema on the platform, and with a clear dedication to delivering new and great movies, Sarandos disagrees with Lynch’s stance. “I don’t agree with the premise that quantity and quality are somehow in conflict with each other,” he said. Instead, he argues that Netflix are paving the way for cinema, and pushing the film world forward. “We’ve had eight best-picture nominees in the last five years on Netflix [They’ve actually had nine].”