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‘Oppenheimer’ Cinematographer Advocates for Theatrical Experience Over Streaming Services

Acclaimed cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema has expressed his disagreement with Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos’ assertion that movies can be fully appreciated on a streamer/phone in the same way as on the big screen. Ted faced online ridicule for mentioning that his son watched the 1962 classic “Lawrence of Arabia” on his phone and singled out “Oppenheimer,” a film for which Hoyte won an Oscar, as a movie that would be equally enjoyed away from the big screen.

Hoyte, in a conversation with TMZ, clarified that while he harbors no ill will towards Ted, he firmly believes that a pocket-sized screen cannot compare to the traditional theatrical experience. He emphasized the special magic of watching a film in a cinema, highlighting that the experience is expertly curated by filmmakers and artists. In contrast, he feels that viewing films on platforms like Netflix feels more like being subject to the streamer’s whim.

The subject matter is deeply personal to Hoyte, who shared that he puts his heart and soul into creating significant cinematic moments for the big screen. He expressed disappointment towards individuals who choose to watch his movies on a small mobile device, compromising resolution and color depth, which he views as a sign of disrespect towards his hard work. Despite his strong stance, he acknowledged that he has also watched movies on a mobile device, recognizing that it is not his place to dictate how people should consume films.

Sarandos, in an interview with the New York Times, mentioned that Hoyte’s film “Oppenheimer” and its same-day-rival release “Barbie” would have achieved similar success if they were released on Netflix.