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Paul Thomas Anderson says superhero films will “get people back in cinemas”

"I feel happier than ever working in this business"

By Patrick Clarke

Paul Thomas Anderson attends the National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala
Paul Thomas Anderson (Photo: Alamy)

Paul Thomas Anderson has praised the rise of superhero films for their ability to get people to return to movie theatres.

In an interview with The New Yorker, the ‘Licorice Pizza’ director was asked for his thoughts on the current state of the film industry, to which he responded with optimism.

“Boy, it warms my heart to be able to tell you that I feel happier than ever working in this business,” Anderson said. “I’ve got my own little corner of the sandbox and am working with people that I really admire, like at MGM.

“I’m incredibly happy right now. But that’s me. There’s no end to the kind of sky-is-falling questions that always surround films and, what’s going to happen.”

A number of big-name directors have criticised the format. In 2019, Martin Scorsese said that superhero films “aren’t cinema”, while last month Ridley Scott declared them as being “boring as shit”.

Zendaya and TOm Holland in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'
Zendaya and Tom Holland in ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ (Photo: Sony / Marvel)

Anderson added: “Obviously it’s gotten even more complicated with streaming and the sort of overabundance of superhero movies. Most of the stuff I don’t take too seriously. I mean, it seems that there is a bit of preoccupation with superhero films. I like them.

“It seems to be something that’s popular these days to sort of wonder if they’ve ruined movies and all this kind of stuff. I just don’t feel that way. I mean, look, we’re all nervous about people getting back to the theatre, but you know what’s going to get them back in movie theatres? Spider-Man. So let’s be happy about that.”

The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’, received its US premiere earlier this week. Early reviews have been muted, but broadly positive, praising a “thrilling” but “muddled” film.

Meanwhile, Anderson’s latest film ‘Licorice Pizza’ has picked up a number of nominations at the upcoming Golden Globes, including Best Picture (Musical/Comedy) and Best Screenplay, with leads Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman up for Best Actress and Best Actor respectively.