Kumail Nanjiani: It’s Harder For Smaller Movies to Succeed
I’ve talked to multiple young people who have said that they don’t like movies! I was at a bar with a friend of mine who directs big movies, and while we were in line for the bathroom, he was saying that movie theaters were going to go away. He was like, “Kids don’t watch movies, they watch YouTube.” Which I thought was crazy.
So he goes, “Watch this.” There was a girl in front of us in line, and he said, “Hey, excuse me, what’s your favorite movie?” And she said, “I don’t watch movies.” Just randomly, he picked someone from the audience — and she was like 25, she wasn’t a child or anything. We were like, “Well, do any of your friends watch movies?” And she said, “Not really.”
I don’t want to sound like an old idiot, because I do watch those videos just to see what people are watching, and it’s so different from traditional movies and TV shows. I grew up watching “Ghostbusters” and “Gremlins” and “Indiana Jones,” and if I had grown up watching YouTube, I don’t know if I would like movies.
I talk to younger people sometimes who can binge-watch an entire TV season in one sitting, but they’re resistant to watching a two-hour movie.
If you look at those people bingeing Netflix shows, they’re doing other things at the same time, or they’re on their phone. So it’s not that people think watching a movie is difficult, it’s that they think just watching that movie is difficult. I can’t tell you how much it would piss me off when people would live-tweet “The Big Sick.” And it happened all the time! It’s just how younger people engage with entertainment now.
In what other ways is social media going to shape the way movies are made?
Well, look at what happened with the “Sonic” movie. Because the internet didn’t like it, they’re redoing the Sonic design! People have always had an opinion on what they want, but they didn’t feel entitled to change that thing. It used to be, “This sucks,” and people would move on, and now it’s, “This sucks, change it.” I think it’s a weird, dangerous precedent.