Alejandro González Iñárritu is quite the accomplished filmmaker. His credits include Biutiful, Birdman and The Revenant, and his mantle is adorned with four Academy Awards. But just because he’s achieved massive success within the film industry does not mean he’s a fan of the business. On the contrary, the guy sounds like he’s two steps away from pulling a Jerry Maguire.
While speaking at the Sarajevo Film Festival about today’s film industry, Iñárritu didn’t waste a second before pulling punches. Per Variety, the filmmaker said former movies “were exploring different ways of telling stories, trying to push language. Those have disappeared. Now it’s the big tentpoles… or the TV streaming experience.”
He continued: “The language is changing, the need of plot and narrative is so much that it’s starting to deform the way we can explore themes. People are very impatient now, they are like: ‘Give me more. Kill somebody! Do something.'”
Later, he described film as “the most important art form in the world,” while also saying that it has morphed into (clears throat) “an orgy of interests that are in the same bed, with poetic principles but at the same time it’s also a whore that charges money.”
Tell us how you really feel.
Unfortunately, Iñárritu’s argument is only strengthened by the viewing habits of consumers. Theatrical ticket sales have been steadily declining since 2002, and rarely does a non-tentpole blockbuster breakout at the box office anymore. With the advent of short-form online content, the attention span of viewers is only going to continue shrinking. According to a recent study from media entertainment company Whistle, Gen Z is watching social-first content on their mobile device (83% Facebook and 74% YouTube) and are twice as likely to think there is no compromise in quality when watching on mobile compared to TV.
Needless to say, Iñárritu will not likely be targeting the Gen Z demographic for his next feature.