Saturday 21 September 2019

J.J. Abrams: Hollywood is always focused on sequels and superheroes

The filmmaker said he is aware of how guilty he is of being a part of it.

Abrams said keeping The Cloverfield Paradox's release secret was a major part of the draw (Ian West/PA)
Abrams said keeping The Cloverfield Paradox's release secret was a major part of the draw (Ian West/PA)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The Force Awakens director J. J. Abrams has said he hopes the abundance of high quality premium television will filter back into cinema.

The filmmaker added he wants to see more films like Oscar hopefuls The Shape Of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri amid the mass of sequels and superhero stories.

Abrams, who will return to the Star Wars universe to direct Episode IX, has served as producer on all three Cloverfield films, including The Cloverfield Paradox, which was a surprise release on Netflix after the Super Bowl.

Speaking about releasing the film on a streaming platform rather than in cinemas, he said: “I love going to the cinema. I love the communal experience, I think it is an inherent part of human nature to want to gather and experience things together.

“There’s nothing more fun than seeing a scary or thrilling or fun dramatic movie with an audience, it’s a different ride and I think magnifies the story and it makes it something that we have all shared together. All that having been said, every movie wants to be seen considered in its own right.

“I think that the truth is that going to the movies in a big city is a very different thing to going to the movies in a small town where often the theatres don’t have as good a sound as one might at home with the picture quality.”

He added: “I think that the reality of the business is that cinema chains need to justify people leaving their homes and getting babysitters because it’s a better experience.

“I love movies, I’m hoping that some of the incredible TV that we’re seeing – and there’s such an abundance of it, but everyone is so aware of the risks that are being taken, the quality of the stories – that some of that will transfer back to the cinema.

“I feel like there are so many – and of course, I’m aware of how guilty I am of being part of this – but what Hollywood is making is so often sort of sequel based and in kind of superhero mode.

“It’s a great thing to see a movie like Three Billboards or Shape of Water, Dunkirk, to see films that are original films that are being celebrated so beautifully and being told so wonderfully, obviously movies need more of that and hopefully that will continue.”

Abrams said keeping the release of The Cloverfield Paradox secret was a major part of the draw, adding: “It didn’t really feel like it was any fun to release the movie with everything knowing it was coming and it just felt like the idea ‘could we possibly do this and keep it a secret and release the thing in the way we did?’.

“That felt to me like that’s the spirit of these movies.”

He added: “It was a really crazy secret and the fact that even within Netflix not everyone knew what was happening… it was amazing to me that it was pulled off.

“I feel this way with Apple for example, they’ll announce a product and they’ll say ‘available now’ or ‘available next week’ and you’re like, ‘wait a minute, they designed this thing, they manufactured it, they shipped and no one knew?!’

“It literally doesn’t make sense how this can happen and it felt a little bit like that with this, it was amazing to me that they were able to keep this stuff secret.”

The Cloverfield Paradox is streaming on Netflix now.

PA Media

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