The movie-going experience is being destroyed by theatres themselves, according to Edward Norton.
“It’s the theatre chains that are destroying the theatrical experience. Period, full-stop. No one else,” Norton tells The Daily Beast ahead of the release of his new movie, “Motherless Brooklyn”. The actor-director cites dull projector lamps that result in a dim projection of films.
“A lot of filmmakers and cinematographers that I know that have really started to look into this say that more than 60 per cent of American theatres are running their projector at almost half the luminosity that they’re required by contract to run it at.”
“They are delivering crappy sound and a dim picture, and no one is calling them on it. If they were delivering what they’re supposed to be delivering, people would be going, ‘Wow, this is amazing, I do not get this at home,'” he says. “You want to train people. Like, go get your money back. If the movie looks dark, it was. Go get your money back! I think we should rally around that. I really do.”
Norton says he personally went and tested “Motherless Brooklyn” at a theatre chain, witnessing the dull projection himself. The actor says the projector showing “Captain America” was screening at less than half the brightness it should have been according to the projector’s technical specs.
The actor’s accusations against theatre chains comes directly in opposition to Steven Spielberg’s comments that streaming services like Netflix are the ones destroying the theatrical experience. Spielberg previously claimed Netflix movies should only qualify for Emmys, not Oscars.
“If I disagreed with anybody, with great respect, it was Spielberg,” Norton says, citing the streaming giant’s Oscar-winning film, “Roma” as an example. “Netflix invested more in ‘Roma’ theatrically than any boutique label at any studio would have by a factor of five. They put a Spanish-language black-and-white film all over the world in theatres. Hundreds of theatres, not just a few; as many as Sony Pictures Classics would have done. They put more money behind it, in a theatrical context, than anybody would have. You can’t tell me there’s a whole lot of people making black-and-white Spanish-language films and putting that investment behind them.”
“There’s a lot going on because of Netflix, and what it was the vanguard of, that represents an unprecedented period of ripe opportunity for many more types of stories and voices to be heard, and told, and celebrated,” he concludes. “It’s incredible, what’s going on.”
“Motherless Brooklyn” had its Canadian premiere at TIFF and opens in theatres November 1.