Edgar Wright On How Cinemas Can Win The Netflix Battle

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Edgar Wright, who is currently in London finishing the edit on his latest pic Last Night In Soho, took a short break from the cutting room to chat to UK cinema owners today, using the platform to deliver a pep talk on how exhibitors can win the battle with their streaming rivals.

The Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and Shaun Of The Dead filmmaker is a passionate cinephile and vocal advocate for the big screen experience, and said he has always made his movies from that perspective.

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“I like watching some Netflix things, but at a certain point I need to get out, off my sofa. I like going to the movies,” said Wright. “TV and streaming are making so much noise, [but] I’ve always tried to make movies that you feel like you need to see on the big screen.”

He highlighted his film Baby Driver, which was marketed with the slogan “see it large and loud” to actively encourage people not to wait for the home ent release.

The filmmaker stressed that cinema owners also need to step up by ensuring they deliver a high-end experience in terms of sound and picture quality.

“Anything you can do to make this magical is really important. You’d don’t want to be losing the battle to Netflix because people go to the cinema and feel like they’re not getting anything out of the experience,” he said. “There needs to be a reason you want to come to this room and not watch it on an iPhone on the train.”

Wright added that he still attends the cinema more than once every week, and said he doesn’t understand people who work in the industry and don’t go to public screenings.

“I’m always amazed by how many people who work in the industry don’t go to see films with an audience,” he commented. “You’d be surprised how many people in the film industry actually don’t do that, it’s important.”

The filmmaker also spoke about his frustration at the length of commercials that play before movies.

“Commercials are too long. I understand why you need them but they are too long, I say this as a punter,” he commented, noting that he occasionally chooses to see longer movies at home because of the added runtime from adverts.

“It’s not in all chains, some are worse than others,” he added, explaining he was particularly frustrated by commercials telling people to go to the cinema (“preaching to the converted”), and commercials that show you clips from the movie you’re about to see.

Wright was speaking at the 2020 UK Cinema Association conference in London. Last Night In Soho stars Anya Taylor-Joy in the story of a young girl who is passionate about fashion design and is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters her idol, a dazzling wannabe singer. Focus/Universal are releasing September.

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