Logan Director James Mangold Explains What's Wrong With Movie Theaters

Outside of being shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, movie theaters are facing another major uphill battle — something that comes in the form of the ever-expanding streaming wars. Streaming is at an all-time high with most people stuck indoors during the time, a trend many believe will at least continue throughout the summer. In fact, Logan helmer James Mangold suggests the world of streaming has an upper-hand on theaters due to the ease of use for most applications; one or two clicks of the remote and you'll have a 4K movie ready to stream from the comfort of your home. Mangold recently spoke with DiscussingFilm and expressed why he thought the cinema-going experience has been trending downward. According to the acclaimed director, it's the lack of trying on part of theater owners.

"The reality of theater projection has gotten so tragically bad in so many cases," Mangold told the outlet. "The fight to put your movie in a theater that stinks and someone’s eating an enchilada next to you – half the screen is out of focus or too dim. Theatrical has its own problems, which is that if it doesn’t make itself a sterling presentation that you cannot approximate at the home – then theatrical kills itself without any other delivery method even competing with it. When I talk to theater owners or theater chains, that’s the big thing."

The director then goes into a story about a screening he attended of his latest flick, the Oscar-nominated Ford v Ferrari. After the series started getting some serious Oscar buzz, the director attending an Academy-hosted Q&A at a major theater in Manhattan. While the feature was screening, Mangold came to the horrifying conclusion that the theater had left its 3D lens on the projector while screening a non-3D film.

"Lazy theater owners will just keep the 3D lenses in all the time, which color the movies blue and make them dim on the screen – even when it’s a non-3D film," Mangold revealed. "It’s just strictly either financial or physical laziness to send someone up and put a different lens in the projection system."

He added, "I discovered both screenings were happening through 3D lenses with a non-3D movie. This again is at a studio-booked, landmark screening at a fancy major owned theater in New York. My point really is just that theatrical is a wasteland right now of a lot of shitty delivery of movies to audiences who are paying a premium to see them on a big screen. That’s something that needs to be solved in the future."


Mangold made sure to point out the fact he doesn't think theatrical releases are dead by any stretch of the imagination, though plenty of work needs to be done to turn cinemas back into which they once were. "I’m sure there’s going to be casualties from all this and the theater chains, but I think that people wanting to go out and have a special experience on a big, big screen with great presentation of a movie that isn’t available anywhere else… is something that will continue," he concluded. "But I do think the kind of glory period that I came up during the 90s, when there was really thriving independent cinema on screens in major cities, is already gone. It was gone before this virus arrived. In many ways, you could see streaming as the chicken or the egg – either the killer or the savior. More interesting voices in movies."

Logan is now available wherever movies are sold.

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