Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says movie theaters have done little to innovate in the past 30 years besides making better popcorn, writes Variety.
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Hastings last week held a press conference at company headquarters and he took the occasion to comment on the state of today’s movie theater, the place where most people still first watch a new film.

“How did distribution innovate in the movie business in the last 30 years? Well, the popcorn tastes better, but that’s about it,” Hastings said, according to Variety.

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The comment will likely irk theater owners who are already upset that Netflix has streamed its new original films to its living room subscribers the same day they are released to theaters. Normally, a movie theater is permitted to run a new movie first while the home video viewer must wait up to three months to see it.

Amazon, a Netflix rival in the streaming category, has followed the traditional rules of distribution of a new film.

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But Hastings maintained that Netflix is not in business to destroy the movie theater.

“We are not anti-theater,” he said. “We just want things to come out at the same time.”

Hastings overlooks some of the innovations that have reached many movie theaters in recent years including reclining seats, digital projection, and improved sound systems. But it would appear that the Netflix chief would still prefer to watch his movies at home.

— Phillip Swann