Leonardo DiCaprio loves talking about climate change. Well, he doesn’t love it, per se, but he does want everyone to know the world is going to end if we don’t get our shit together. But when he’s not talking about climate change or starring in films about the subject, like “Don’t Look Up,” he’s being asked what everyone in Hollywood is being asked—are theaters screwed?
Speaking to Deadline, Leonardo DiCaprio talked about “Don’t Look Up,” climate change, and the question about whether or not the theatrical experience will win against streaming or if the multiplex will continue to be overrun by franchise and tentpole films. Spoiler alert: he’s about as confident about the future of the theatrical experience as he is the future of our planet.
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“Without making a giant stance on all this, there’s obviously pros and cons to both,” said DiCaprio about the theatrical versus streaming debate. “The pros being that I do feel like a lot of interesting ideas from the documentary perspective, from the limited series perspective, and from the independent film perspective, are getting financed. The flip side, how many people are actually going to the theater to not see major franchise films? That is very questionable for the future and I’m a huge advocate for having that communal audience experience. It is an art form at the end of the day, and to be able to walk, have that energy, and feel like you do when you’re going into a dark theater and possibly having a completely unique experience and then have that focus on a story for two-plus hours, is irreplaceable.”
He added, “So, I have mixed feelings, but it certainly seems to be trending in the direction of, major studio tentpole films being able to last theatrically and like I said, the flipside is, there’s a lot more interesting things getting financed, that probably 10 or 15 years ago wouldn’t get financed.”
Of course, DiCaprio’s new film, “Don’t Look Up,” is a streaming exclusive that played in theaters just long enough to please the cast and crew and qualify for Oscars. And his next film, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” is being produced by Apple, yet another company that is trying desperately to keep a streaming service afloat. So, are we to expect ‘Killers’ to do the bare minimum in theaters before hitting streaming a few weeks later? Again, DiCaprio isn’t so sure.
“Well, Killers may still have a theatrical release, we’re still hoping for that,” said the actor. “As much as I can, I want to do films that I and others can go to a theater and watch. I want to still achieve a component of that anytime I can. With certain films, that is much more difficult right now.”
Obviously, the theatrical release paradigm is changing quite a bit, thanks in no small part to the ongoing pandemic throwing everything for a loop. But it really does seem as if no one is super confident that movie theaters will continue to be a place filled with a variety of films of all shapes and sizes. Get ready for our inevitable future of a ever-warming planet and cinemas showing nothing but superhero films. Lovely.