It seems like director Martin Scorsese may be done making films after all. During a recent interview with The Guardian, the filmmaker said that The Irishman could very well be his last movie, and he’s not joking, he was quite serious. He explains that due to all the superhero and comic book movies hitting the box office, there’s no more room for the kind of movies that he makes.
“Obviously, we have been discussing this a lot, that theatres have been commandeered by superhero films – you know, just people flying around and banging and crashing, which is fine if you want to see it. It’s just that there’s no room for another kind of picture. I don’t know how many more I can make – maybe this is it. The last one. So the idea was to at least get it made and maybe show it for one day at the NFT, maybe one day at the Cinémathèque in Paris. I’m not kidding.
“We are in a situation now where the theatres are only showing the latest superhero films. You have 12 screens – and 11 are the superhero film. You enjoy superhero films, fine, but you need 11 screens? It’s crazy for a picture like, you know, Lady Bird or The Souvenir. Those films may not necessarily be hugely commercial, but there are films that are modest and genuine and find a large audience. Just because a film is commercial doesn’t mean it can’t be art. What has consumed the theatres is product. A product is to be consumed and thrown away. Look at a commercial film like Singin’ in the Rain. You can watch it again and again. So the question is: how are we going to protect the art form?
“Now, you don’t have to like the picture, but you couldn’t get The Aviator made today. You could not get Shutter Island made today, even with me and Leo [DiCaprio]. The Departed got made despite itself – the star power helped. We realised when we were taking this project around that the doors are closing. So what’s going on? I looked over at the theatres right down the block – 10 screens showing the same picture.
“People comment that we’ve only shown this film in theatres for four weeks. We tried to get more, but the theatre owners and Netflix couldn’t come to terms. But you know, I’ve had pictures play only one week and get thrown out. In the US, The King of Comedy closed in a week. That film was ignored for 10 years.”
It’s a known knowledge that Scorsese isn’t a fan of comic book movies and now he’s using them as a reason to retire. While I agree with some of what he’s saying here, I also think that there is room for his movies. He’s Martin Scorsese! The guy is a genius storyteller and while I don’t think The Irishman was his best work, I’d still love to see him make more movies in the future. I think he could still get his movies made today because most of them have reasonable budgets. The Irishman is the exception. Just because I like comic book movies and love to see them more, doesn’t mean I don’t want to see other movies on serious topics. When talking about the road The Irishman has been on, Scorsese says:
“My main concern was that it would be OK for the actors, that the Academy would accept it. Not for me, not for the film. I know that I’m at the end of a long, long ride. The main thing is to get the film made and to embrace this new world of how these pictures are going to be seen.”
Scorsese put his soul and heart into The Irishman and he arranged to get a superhero movie oversized budget to create it. The movie cost $140 million to make and Netflix gave him the money to do it. Maybe making this movie just cleaned him out. I don’t know, but I hope it’s not his last movie. But at 77 years old and when the industry is evolving, I understand his decision.