Why Netflix Films Are No Different Than Theatrical Releases, According To Ben Affleck

Triple Frontier Ben Affleck walking a donkey with bags of money in the jungle

With Steven Spielberg's intentions to discuss a rule change possibly disqualifying streaming films with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, there have been a lot of reactions as to how the Netflix, Amazon and other original films should be seen when measured up to their big studio competition. But if you ask Ben Affleck, star of Netflix's new film Triple Frontier, you'll find that not everyone is adverse to treating such films as equals. His reasoning, as you'll read below, is because the same amount of work goes into either side of the aisle. Affleck recently told CinemaBlend:

We certainly approached [Triple Frontier] as any other movie. There's no difference when you're making it between what the platform is that it's going to be seen on. I do think Netflix is doing more interesting stuff in creating a more cinematic experience for the home. More people, more viewers, bigger TVs, bigger sound. They're doing Dolby Cinema color correction, they do Dolby Atmos sound mixes. So they're sort of synthesizing the theatrical with the home viewing experience in a kind of interesting way. It's all changing very fast.

While Ben Affleck is only a star in the cast of co-writer/director J.C. Chandor's Triple Frontier, it's not hard to hear him speaking with his director's cap on during that response. If anything, Affleck's answer to why Netflix movies should be treated as equals is a very easy one: Netflix movies are only different from a standard theatrical release in their distribution method.

Other than that, the same headaches and heartaches are present in completing a film like Triple Frontier. You're still working with talent, co-ordinating shoots, and putting big-ticket finishing touches on the final product in the edit room. Surely, a director such as Ben Affleck understands this subject all too well. So why is there such a pushback from people such as Steven Spielberg?

As it turns out, Affleck's Triple Frontier co-star Charlie Hunnam had something to say about that subject, as well. We posed the same question to both Affleck and Hunnam during their recent press day for the Netflix film, and the Pacific Rim star added the following nuance to the argument in favor of Netflix:

I think that Netflix has an aspiration to do really, really high quality programming, whether it's TV or film. And so, I think that perception is a narrative that's being put forth by people that have a vested interest in the theatrical business. The reality is, there's no difference. You have triple-A list caliber people working in Netflix, in storytellers and filmmakers, and now actors. For my money, there's absolutely no difference whatsoever. But I understand why people want to put that narrative forward.

You can't blame filmmakers like Steven Spielberg for seeing Netflix the way they do, especially when it comes to metrics of success that are as entrenched as their way of working. Netflix doesn't work on the same sort of comparative scale as a traditional theatrical release, and most aren't privy to how they consider a project a flop or a hit. But whether you agree with Spielberg or Affleck's take on the subject, one thing is certain: things are changing very fast, and we could see a day where Netflix stands tall, with full support, among its would-be peers.

If you're interested in watching both Ben Affleck and Charlie Hunnam discussing the subject of how Netflix films are treated, feel free to watch the clip below from our recent talks:

Triple Frontier opens in theaters on March 6th, with its streaming debut on Netflix set to drop on March 13th. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend, as we'll have more coverage for the film coming in the near future. In the meantime, if you're looking to see what's headed to Netflix in the month of March, check out our full rundown of the latest additions and when they're set to hit your streaming queue.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.