Michael Douglas’ superstar film career, both as an actor and producer, has netted him multiple Oscars, not to mention a big pile of cash.
But in a recent interview, the 72-year-old said he was considering moving back to TV. One big reason: Netflix.
Douglas’ career first started to take off thanks to a TV show, “The Streets of San Francisco,” but he quickly moved to the greener pastures of Hollywood films.
Lately, however, Douglas said he’s been “considering looking at a series,” according to The Herald. This is something he “never, never” thought he would do.
So why is he thinking about it? The main issue is that Douglas feels limited by movies in a way he doesn’t when contemplating working in TV.
“The quality of the work going on in television now, and the limited number of my kind of movies that I made in the 70s and the 80s, that are so difficult to do now,” he said. “But when I do them I get paid nothing, and the minimalist, tiny audience in the theatrical area.”
The audience for the kind of movies he wants to do just isn’t there in the traditional theatrical space anymore. That’s not the case in TV, especially with the emerging streaming players like Netflix, which will spend $6 billion on content in 2017.
“Whereas in the streaming or this independent Netflix or HBO,” Douglas continued. “It’s a real opportunity to do good work.”
Douglas’ sentiments are a horrible sign for Hollywood films, and echo something Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently pointed to.
Last month, Hastings said the state of film was a “real tragedy” and that movie theatres are “strangling the movie business.” Hastings came down hard on theatre owners, saying there had been no innovation in the movie theatre business in recent years, even as TV has been shaped by the rise of cable and internet networks. “Money” and “innovation” has flooded to the TV industry, Hastings said. Not so with film.
But Netflix has a long history of clashing with movie theatres, particularly over Netflix’s commitment to making its movies available to stream on the same day they appear on the big screen. So when you hear these sentiments from Hastings, it’s good to take them with a grain of salt.
When you start to hear it from one of the most respected movie stars in Hollywood, however, that’s a totally different story.