When WarnerMedia made the decision to simultaneously release its entire 2021 film slate on HBO Max and in theaters, it was a controversial decision that angered filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve, even with the pandemic raging at its highest levels at the time. However, with some time between the HBO Max decision and The Suicide Squad‘s release, director James Gunn makes the case for why the dual release strategy isn’t that big of a deal, and he makes a very compelling argument about how the theater isn’t where films become classics. Via Variety:
I don’t really care that much. I really just care about whatever the project is in front of me. “The Suicide Squad” is made to be seen first and foremost on a big screen. I think it’s gonna work just fine on television. Listen, movies don’t last because they’re seen on the big screen. Movies last because they’re seen on television. “Jaws” isn’t still a classic because people are watching it in theaters. I’ve never seen “Jaws” in a movie theater. It’s one of my favorite movies.
While Gunn fully admits that making the Peacemaker series for HBO Max softened his views on The Suicide Squad‘s streaming release, he definitely doesn’t want to see the theatrical experience “die.” Although, Gunn fully admits theaters are in trouble right now, and he doesn’t hold back on who’s to blame.
“We’ve still got COVID, because people won’t get vaccinated, which, you know, they should,” Gunn told Variety. “Hopefully — hopefully — that will not be a big deal to us in a year. And if that’s the case, what’s going to happen? We don’t know.”
For the record, Gunn’s Variety interview took place before The Suicide Squad struggled in theaters as the Delta variant continued to spike cases in the US. However, the movie reportedly performed well on HBO Max, so it’ll be interesting to hear his thoughts on the ongoing streaming release debate with that information in the mix.