×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen Debate Theatrical vs. Streaming: ‘Theater Is the Best Place to See Our Comedies’

Seth Rogen is a big fan of “Roma,” the multi-hyphenate star admitted on a muggy Sunday morning at SXSW, but he doesn’t know how to make movies or do comedy for any other format than a packed movie theater.

The theatrical versus streaming debate was top of mind for Rogen, his “Long Shot” leading lady Charlize Theron and their director Jonathan Levine, who sat for Variety and the National Association of Theater Owners’ filmmakers panel at downtown Austin’s WeWork space.

“Personally, with our comedies, I think a theater is the best place to see them,” Rogen said, recalling formative experiences seeing “There’s Something About Mary” and the “South Park” movie at his local cineplex.

“There is an uproarious communal experience. You all feel like you’re partaking in something together. Last night was a good example of how powerful comedy can be in theaters,” said Rogen.

The star referred to the SXSW premiere of “Long Shot,” which saw Austin’s Paramount Theater get rowdy thanks to a live performance from Boyz II Men, who have a cameo in the film. Theron and her male counterparts danced freely to throwback jams on stage as a lubricated crowed went nuts at the sight.

“As someone who never gets nominated for any awards anyway, I don’t give a f— how to deal with that,” Rogen joked of the debate, which has heated up considerably since Steven Spielberg indicated he would ask the film Academy to consider banning streaming giants like Netflix from campaigning for Oscars (they won three this year for Alfonso Curaon’s “Roma”).

Moderator and Variety New York bureau chief Ramin Setoodeh asked Theron her opinion on the matter as a producer, as the Academy Award winner has been as prolific behind the camera as she has in front (her producer credits include “Long Shot,” “Tully,” and “Atomic Blonde”).

“I think it’s a good thing we have all different formats … it’s not 20 years ago and there’s only one way you can do it. That freedom has opened up for more interesting filmmakers, and for people to actually see their movies,” said Theron.

She still believes, however, “there is a magical thing that happens then you’re in a room full of strangers, and you can’t recreate that in your home, or an airplane, or on the subway.”

Mid-budget, adult-skewing comedies like “Long Shot” are an increasingly endangered species at the major studios, but Rogen said his track record has been consistent enough that the majors keep inviting him back to make content for theaters.

The conversation wasn’t all business. In “Long Shot,” Theron plays a U.S. Secretary of State whose journalist old flame (Rogen) tails her for a story. When their chemistry reignites, the pair set off on a wild night abroad and Theron winds up having to negotiate a crisis while high on molly (MDMA).

“I’ve heard that it feels good to touch things,” Theron said of the experience with a laugh, “so I just kind of went from there.”

Rogen wanted to weigh in, but spotted a child in the crowd, saying, “That baby really threw me, I’ll be honest. That sent me crashing back to earth.”

More Film

  • Macon Blair27th Annual Gotham Independent Film

    Macon Blair to Direct and Write 'Toxic Avenger' Reboot for Legendary (EXCLUSIVE)

    Macon Blair has been tapped to write and direct Legendary’s reboot of the cult classic “The Toxic Avenger,” sources tell Variety. Legendary acquired the feature film rights in December and have quickly made the project a high priority at the studio. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment will serve as producers with Alex [...]

  • Danny Boyle Bond 25

    Danny Boyle Calls His Exit From 'Bond 25' a 'Great Shame'

    Director Danny Boyle has finally spoken out after leaving the upcoming 25th James Bond movie over creative differences. After splitting from the new 007 flick last August, Boyle told Empire in a story published on Thursday that the script he penned with his “Trainspotting” co-writer John Hodge “wasn’t finished, but it could have been really [...]

  • Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    An elegiac documentary exploring the brief life of rapper Lil Peep, “Everybody’s Everything” certainly doesn’t lack for perspectives. Interviewing virtually everyone who knew the musician (born Gustav Ahr), directors Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan cover the waterfront, from Peep’s family to his girlfriends, his innumerable collaborators, his managers and his fans, trying to distill exactly [...]

  • A Brinks armored truck pulls into

    Layoffs Hit Fox After Disney Completes Deal

    Layoffs have hit Fox following the entertainment company’s sale to Disney. The staff cuts are hitting employees at the SVP, EVP, and president level. Senior staff is expected to be among the first to be impacted. However, the cuts will be deep, with the ax falling hardest of Fox’s film team. There could be as [...]

  • Emily Blunt in Talks for Inspirational

    Emily Blunt in Talks to Star in Annapurna Drama 'Not Fade Away'

    Emily Blunt is in negotiations to star in Annapurna’s inspirational drama “Not Fade Away” with David O. Russell and John Krasinski producing. The project is based on Rebecca Alexander’s 2015 memoir “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found.” Alexander was born with a rare genetic mutation called Usher syndrome type III and [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Nabs Nine Nominations for 6th Premios Platino

    As was widely anticipated, Alfonso Cuaron’s triple Oscar-winning “Roma” dominated the 6th Premios Platino nominations, unveiled Thursday at Hollywood’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Oscars. It snagged a total of nine nominations, including best film, director, art direction, cinematography, and acting for its two Oscar-nominated actresses, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de [...]

  • Stephen Bruno

    Stephen Bruno Exits Netflix for Top Marketing Job at MGM

    Netflix global marketing chief Stephen Bruno has exited his post for MGM, where he has been named chief marketing officer. His departure follows that of Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett and marks a major shake-up for the streaming giant. Bruno had been with the streamer since 2014, and is known as an innovator. He joins MGM [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content