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Over a storied career both in front of and behind the camera, Jodie Foster has shown that she has one of the keenest eyes in Hollywood. Lately she's been directing episodes of Netflix shows such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and most recently, Black Mirror. While this is certainly a jump for a woman who made her first directing efforts in the world of film, there's one jump she'll never make: directing a big budget comic book blockbuster. Foster's reasons are that she feels those films have conditioned the landscape negatively, as she recently explained:
Going to the movies has become like a theme park. Studios making bad content in order to appeal to the masses and shareholders is like fracking - you get the best return right now but you wreck the earth. It's ruining the viewing habits of the American population and then ultimately the rest of the world. I don't want to make $200m movies about superheroes.
The main crux of Jodie Foster's argument against typical tentpole blockbusters, made during an interview with Radio Times Magazine, seems to be the usual argument that's leveled against them in most contexts: they aren't as good as the movies that are made on smaller budgets, in more constrained/artist-friendly conditions. And since those movies make a lot of money, studios are going to keep making them because the movie business is still a profit driven enterprise. As such, this effects the market on the whole, and ultimately it creates a smaller market for indie films like Call Me By Your Name or even The Disaster Artist. The exception being, of course, during prestige qualification season at the end of the year.
Foster's remarks came during the weekend that sees her Black Mirror episode, "Arkangel" hitting screens all around the world courtesy of Netflix's online distribution model. This makes for an interesting point, considering that very blockbuster mentality seems to be making its way into Netflix's corporate offices. It was very recently that the subscription streaming service broke into the big budget tentpoles game with the release of the Will Smith-Joel Edgerton vehicle, Bright.
Up until now, Netflix has been mostly known for smaller acquisitions at film festivals like Sundance, which has lead to such films as I Don't Feel At Home In This World and War Machine finding homes. But should Bright hit the right sort of metrics that Netflix measures internally, Jodie Foster's fears of what the modern studio system has turned into may become the next step in the streaming service's evolution.
That said, because of the highly-tuned, and extremely confidential metrics that Netflix uses to measure its products and its successes, the company isn't under the same sort of pressure as a typical Hollywood studio is. Not to mention, with the wider berth of subscribers who only have to log in to enjoy such products as Death Note, as well as original shows like Black Mirror, there's more latitude for Netflix to spread the love evenly between big explosions and quieter moments of sober drama. Meaning that if the next Call Me By Your Name can't find an easy home at a typical studio, Netflix will still be there to snag it off of the table and pursue awards glory.
You can see Jodie Foster's Black Mirror episode, "Arkangel," as well as the rest of Season 4, currently on Netflix.