Rian Johnson Says It’s “Horrifying” To See Streaming Services Pull Content From Their Libraries
Feb 27, 2023
Over the past year, it’s starting to feel like subscribers were sold a bill of goods when it comes to streaming services. The idea, at least at the beginning, was that you pay your monthly fee and you get access to thousands and thousands of TV series and films from an ever-growing library, including everything from past years. So, if you pay for HBO Max, you get all of that original Max content as well as the total back library of HBO goodness. Well, with nearly every streamer out there pulling content from libraries and canceling other projects even after filming took place, it’s uncertain if the project you’re looking for will be there by the time you get around to watching it. All of this is in the name of saving a quick buck for the streamers. That doesn’t take into account what this practice does to the morale of filmmakers, such as Rian Johnson, who is deeply involved with streamers.
READ MORE: Leslie Grace Rebuts Claims That ‘Batgirl’ Is Unreleasable & Says The Cut She Saw “Was Incredible”
Speaking to THR, Rian Johnson talked a bit about the recent trend of streaming services taking already-existing projects and films/TV series in the middle of production and removing them from the service or canceling them before they’re released. Just off the top of my head, there are series such as “Westworld,” “Snowpiercer,” “Minx,” “Super Pumped,” and “American Rust,” that were all removed from their home streaming service for tax write-off purposes or to seemingly save money on residuals.
And when you’re Rian Johnson, who is someone in the middle of making high-profile “Knives Out” films for Netflix and series such as “Poker Face” for Peacock, the idea that a streamer can just remove a project and seemingly delete it from existence is “horrifying.”
“It’s been horrifying,” Johnson said. “The fact that it’s becoming common practice is terrible and adds to the awfulness. In the history of the business, there has been a constant evolution of horrible things.”
READ MORE: ‘Westworld’: HBO Cancels Their Ambitious Sci-Fi Series After 4 Seasons
He added, “All you can do as someone who makes stuff is ultimately put your faith in the notion that if you make something, it’s going to find its audience.”
There’s a bit of optimism in the last comment, but also a sense of acceptance. Johnson is clearly aware that he doesn’t get to be involved in conversations about what stays and what goes. All you can do is hope that you make something worth keeping. But even then, the quality isn’t enough. If there aren’t enough eyeballs or the cost for a new season is too much for a TV show, a streamer will just delete it. Simple as that.
READ MORE: ‘Poker Face’ Review: Rian Johnson & Natasha Lyonne Team Up For A Clever, Funny Mystery Series
Luckily for Johnson, with the awards recognition his “Knives Out” franchise has received, along with the seemingly early success of “Poker Face” (renewed for Season 2, but is that enough to ensure it’ll return? Who knows?), it would appear that his work will be sticking around. That said, I’m sure the other filmmakers involved with massive shows like “Westworld” would have thought the same thing.
It’s a new era of streaming and filmmakers are a little shaken.
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