Dame Helen Mirren has given streaming giant Netflix short shrift at an event for cinema exhibitors in Las Vegas.
“I love Netflix, but [expletive] Netflix,” she said, eliciting cheers and applause from her audience.
Mirren declared there was “nothing like sitting in the cinema” while appearing at the annual CinemaCon event.
Last year, the actress said the rise of watching films on streaming services at home was “devastating” for people who want to make films for the big screen.
Dame Helen – whose husband is US director Taylor Hackford – told Total Film the “communal” experience of going to the cinema was “beginning to disappear”.
While light-hearted, the actress’s comment on Tuesday spoke to a widely held concern among cinema owners over Netflix’s inroads into theatrical distribution.
The streaming giant combines theatrical exhibition with online streaming, a model that goes against the traditional 12-week “window” during which films can only be viewed in cinemas.
In a tweet last month, Netflix argued its business model gives access to people who don’t live near a cinema or can’t afford to go to one.
The streaming service has faced criticism since this year’s Oscars, which saw one of its titles – Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma – take home three awards.
The organisers of the Academy Awards are under pressure to introduce rules that would make films that premiere on streaming services and cinemas simultaneously ineligible for its prizes.
Last year Steven Spielberg told ITV News: “I don’t believe that films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theatres for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.”
It has emerged the US Department of Justice has been in contact with the Academy to warn them that any such rule changes may breach competition laws.
Send in the clowns
Held annually in Las Vegas, the CinemaCon event is an opportunity for film studios to promote their wares before an international audience of cinema owners.
These range from Dame Helen’s new film The Good Liar – a thriller in which she appears with Sir Ian McKellen – to the latest screen outing for Batman’s nemesis The Joker.
A teaser trailer for Joker shown on Tuesday gave attendees an early glimpse of Joaquin Phoenix’s interpretation of the iconic comic book villain.
Released in October, the film sees Phoenix play a stand-up comedian called Arthur Fleck who gradually lose touch with reality.
The poster for Todd Phillips’ film shows Phoenix in clown make-up with what looks to be blood smeared on his chin.
Tuesday was a good day for clowns at CinemaCon, whose attendees were also shown footage from horror sequel It: Chapter Two.
Based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel, the follow-up to 2017’s It will see actor Bill Skarsgard reprise his role as the evil clown Pennywise.