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Ex-Studio Head Says Movie Business Is ‘Finished And Will Never Come Back’; Blames Streaming Services

Aubrey Meister

Barry Diller, chairman of IAC and former CEO of Paramount and 20th Century Fox, thinks the film industry as he knew it is “over.” While at the Allen & Co. retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho this week, he spoke exclusively with NPR.

“The movie business is over. The movie business as before is finished and will never come back,” Diller said in the interview.

Diller also expressed his negative opinion of the movies being made today.

“These streaming services have been making something that they call ‘movies,’” he said. “They ain’t movies. They are some weird algorithmic process that has created things that last 100 minutes or so.”

He continued, adding that the definition of a “movie is in such transition that it doesn’t mean anything right now.”

Diller reflected on the film industry and what the process looked like years ago, explaining how much time and money went into creating movies. He said, “I used to be in the movie business where you made something really because you cared about it.”

Money was spent to build excitement and encourage large audiences to flock to the theaters. He explained, “There used to be a whole run-up,” but he believes that success is measured differently now.

The pandemic impacted movie theater ticket sales and caused a boom in streaming. Because people were no longer going to theaters to see new films, Disney, WarnerMedia, and other companies decided to put movies in theaters and on streaming services simultaneously. WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar confirms that this was a pandemic decision for the company, so it will change in 2022.

Nonetheless, Diller says that he has “almost zero” interest in the film industry today, and he’s gone on to produce plays for Broadway. He calls this new venture “far more creative.”

Despite the IAC chairman’s negative impression of streaming services, he does notice the success of the industry. It’s very competitive as companies are fighting for both content and subscribers. Now more consumers are choosing to cut the cord and subscribe to various services instead of paying for cable.

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