Mank: Director Fincher Praises Netflix

An important shift is taking place in the entertainment industry, as streaming services such as Netflix have begun to overshadow traditional theatrical distributors. Some directors, who cherish having their movies projected on the widest of screens, bemoan the change.

Fincher embraces it.

“Let’s be real: The exhibition experience is not the shining link in the chain right now,” says the director, who notes that home screens have gotten progressively larger in recent years, making the difference in presentation between a cinema and a television less stark.

“I’ve never been happier working at a place than I am at Netflix,” Fincher says. “They’re building a repository. It’s a nice thing that movies have a place to exist where you don’t necessarily have to shove them into spandex summer or affliction winter. It’s a platform that takes all kinds. You can be a dark, sinister German movie or a bizarre Israeli spy show. They want them all.”

As Hollywood has become more superhero obsessed, hard-charging directors such as Fincher, Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”) and Spike Lee (“Da Five Bloods”) have migrated to Netflix in search of creative freedom and financial support.

“I know that I’m no picnic,” says Fincher. “They want people who are self-starters; they want people who want to tear it up and try different things and show up for work and tax the system.”

This November, Netflix is releasing “Mank” in the cinemas that remain open during COVID, but the company acknowledges that could be a dwindling number. It’s also planning an extensive Oscar campaign.

 

“It’s a major achievement in filmmaking,” says Stuber. “We really believe in the movie, and we’re going to push it really hard in every area.”

Even as “Mank” looks at Hollywood’s past, it is helping to usher in a new wave of movies about the making of other classic films. Ben Affleck is set to direct “The Big Goodbye,” a behind-the-scenes look at the production of “Chinatown,” while Barry Levinson and Oscar Isaac are teaming up on a picture about the tumultuous creation of “The Godfather.” Fincher jokes that he’s creating a new genre, one that will soon have its own row on Netflix.

“There are so many amazing stories about the making of movies; there’s a place for that,” says Fincher. “Will there be a rush of these: ‘What about the making of “Stunt Man”?!’ No, but I’m intrigued by the idea of both those. I adore and revere Ben Affleck and Barry, so let’s see what they do with it.”