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Cinema and Syntax: Netflix’s movies are hurting the film industry

If someone would have said 15 years ago that streaming services were going to be the go-to place to watch the latest films and shows, people would have rolled their eyes and installed their new DVD player.

But those same people are ones that pay for Netflix and Hulu now.

New original movies and television shows debut on streaming platforms every week. Some of them are created by people breaking into the business, but lately a lot of big-name directors and producers are steering away from distributing to theaters and are going to Netflix — which is not a great thing.

It has been said Netflix gives more creative freedom to the directors and producers it partners with. That is probably the only reason David Ayer was able to make a $90 million comedy about an orc cop starring Will Smith. The film was streamed more than 11 million times in the first three days, which is the equivalent of an opening weekend. Had Bright been released in a theater where tickets cost $10, the film would have made $110 million just in that weekend. That's about the same amount Toy Story 3 made in its opening weekend.

Here’s the catch, though: A film like Ayer’s probably would not have fared well in a theater. 

The only draw is Smith, and the premise is too obscure. The only reason people clicked on it was because it was right there and part of their subscription.

That should be a sign that the quality on Netflix compared to the theater is definitely not the same. If a company won’t release it in a theater, that means they don’t think it will make money. And if a company doesn’t think a film starring Smith will make money in a theater, that right there is an indication that it might not be a great film. 

There is something special about going to see a film in theater by a fan-favorite director. Audiences get to see the director’s work in a large format that boasts the best digital effects, camera angles and overall look. Though watching on a laptop is convenient, the quality is subpar to watching with the high-quality sound and images a person would find in a theater.

There are other creators and directors opting for streaming services. The Coen Brothers signed a deal last year to create a series for Netflix. Sci-fi legend J.J. Abrams produced The Cloverfield Paradox, which was released after the Super Bowl. And Ryan Murphy, one of the biggest names in television, struck a $300 million-deal with Netflix. With Murphy, it’s easy to see the reason he got the deal was so his bizarre, cultish shows could become even outlandish.

Netflix is diluting films and television shows. Sure, there are some really good Netflix originals, but with too much creative license, the films become disorganized. It seems Netflix is focused more on the quantity it produces over quality of the production. As more people sign up for streaming services, the more lower-quality films they are seeing. Netflix is ultimately doing a disservice to its subscribers.

Georgia Davis is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you think Netflix is producing high-quality films? Tell Georgia by tweeting her at @georgiadee35

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