US director Steven Spielberg (75) has criticized the simultaneous release of films in cinemas and streaming providers during the corona pandemic. While streaming services raised their subscription prices to “record highs,” some of his “best filmmaker friends” were unceremoniously fobbed off without cinema premieres, he said in an interview with the New York Times published on Wednesday (local time).

“They got paid and the movies — in the case I’m talking about — all of a sudden moved to HBO Max,” Spielberg said, referring to the streaming provider’s release of Warner Bros productions. Warner Bros caused a stir at the end of 2020 with the announcement that all 17 films planned for 2021 would be released simultaneously in cinemas and on HBO Max. The film company announced that this was an exception because of the pandemic.

It changed everything for the audience, Spielberg said. “I think the older viewers were relieved that they didn’t have to step on sticky popcorn anymore.” However, it is the same older viewers who particularly benefit from the social experience in a cinema. “Viewers used to leave the cinema after a good film and said, ‘Aren’t you glad we went out to see this film tonight?'” It is therefore the job of new films to be good enough for viewers to do that could say to each other again. “I think cinema will come back. I really think so.”