Rian Johnson on Streamers Scrapping Finished Films: ‘It’s Terrible’
Johnson dismissed the industry’s willingness to discard completed work as the latest in a “constant evolution of horrible things”.
In the blink of an eye, the so-called “Streaming Wars” went from empowering creators to increasing their financial insecurity. Streaming services like Netflix and HBO Max were once lauded for offering more buyers for quality content, but recent trends show them scrapping completed projects and removing their own shows to avoid paying royalties as they all struggle for profitability.
The penny-pinching approach common among streamers these days has attracted some notable critics, including “The Onion” director Rian Johnson. comment The Hollywood ReporterJohnson drew attention to the practice of streamers pulling movies and shows (that they created themselves) from their libraries.
“It was horrible,” Johnson said. “The fact that this is becoming common practice is terrible and makes it even worse. In the history of the business, terrible things have continued to develop.”
Still, Johnson advised creators to focus on their work and not think about the outside of the business: “There’s only so much you can do as someone who makes stuff, that eventually you believe in the idea that if you make something, it’s going to work . to find your audience.”
Despite his objections to the industry’s new strategies, Johnson is still deep in the streaming business — and his stance ensures that whatever he produces will always find an audience. He’s set to write and direct the third “Knives Out” movie for Netflix while serving as president of “Poker Face,” which was just renewed for a second season at the Peacock. In a recent interview with IndieWire, Johnson explained why he enjoys working with writers to bring his brand of mystery storytelling to the small screen.
“I wrote the pilot the way I write my movies, just by myself — but then we created a writers’ room, and it was the first time I wrote together. I really enjoyed this. We had a great writing team, and Nora and Lilla Zuckerman, our showrunners, showed me how it worked,” he said. “It was almost like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. I will tell you that after years and years and years of writing alone, it was good to have other people there.”
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