The Big Picture
- Martin Scorsese is grateful for the theatrical experience in showcasing his new film Killers of the Flower Moon, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.
- Scorsese acknowledges the success of films like Barbie and Oppenheimer, and the importance of communal theatrical experiences.
- The contrast in tone between films like Oppenheimer and Barbie offers hope for a different cinema to emerge, outside of mainstream trends and independent films.
Martin Scorsese returns to the big screen with his latest film, the epic Killers of the Flower Moon, and he’s extremely grateful to have the theatrical experience on offer to showcase his newest film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Lily Gladstone and is the harrowing true story of a string of murders which took place in 1920s Oklahoma, causing an uprising amongst the Osage Nation, whose people were the victims in the battle for mineral and oil rights. The film, distributed and produced by Apple, will head to the streaming platform Apple TV+ after release, but it will hit the big screen after a summer which saw audiences returning in their droves thanks to the parallel powerhouses that were Barbie from Greta Gerwig and Oppenheimer, from Christopher Nolan.
Speaking with the Hindustan Times ahead of the release of Killers of the Flower Moon, Scorsese admitted that, while he has yet to watch either of the films, he was pleased to see their success particularly given that he has worked for members of their respective creative teams. “I haven’t seen the films yet. I love Chris Nolan’s work,” he said. “Margot Robbie, I must say, started with me from The Wolf of Wall Street. Rodrigo Prieto (cinematographer), after finishing Killers of the Flower Moon, went on to shoot Barbie. So it’s all in the family.”
The “Barbenheimer” craze, as it became known, drove the global box office to one of its largest summers on record. The concurrent release for both movies proved to be an accidental masterstroke. Barbie became the top grossing film of the year, coming in at a $1.4 billion gross, while Oppenheimer‘s $939 million worldwide haul is arguably more impressive given the oppressive and nihilstic tone of the film as well as its length.
A Contrast in Tone
Like many commentators, Scorsese believes the contrast in tone between the films was a help, rather than a hindrance, and the feeling of being part of a communal experience on the big screen was the prevailing factor in why the films proved such a boon for the exhibitors.
“I do think that the combination of Oppenheimer and Barbie was something special. It seemed to be, I hate that word, but the perfect storm. It came about at the right time. And the most important thing is that people went to watch these in a theatre. And I think that’s wonderful.”
The way it fit perfectly – a film with such entertainment value, purely with the bright colours – and a film with such severity and strength, and pretty much about the danger of the end to our civilisation – you couldn’t have more opposite films to work together. It does offer some hope for a different cinema to emerge, different from what’s been happening in the last 20 years, aside from the great work being done in independent cinema. I always get upset by that, the independent films being relegated to ‘indies.’ Films that only a certain kind of people would like. Just show them on a tiny screen somewhere.
You can check out the new trailer for Killers of the Flower Moon in theaters on October 20.