James Mangold Credits TCM for Giving Classic Films ‘Far Bigger Audience’ Than They’d Otherwise Have

“I try and remain optimistic,” the “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” director tells TheWrap

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One of the biggest film industry stories of the week is the unexpected uncertainty about the future of Turner Classic Movies (TCM). The network has been hit by massive layoffs amid a restructuring that sparked an outpouring of support including some of the biggest names in Hollywood. There’s even a real question about whether TCM — which shows predominately studio era films from the 1960s and earlier — will exist by the end of the year.

By coincidence, last week TheWrap spoke to “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destinydirector James Mangold who, during a discussion of his appreciation of old cinema, spoke warmly about TCM and it’s place as a repository of knowledge and history for films as a medium

“Part of the joy of loving these movies is that they feel a little bit like they’re just ours and not everybody [elses],” Mangold told TheWrap.

“The reality is that there is all sorts of great art that doesn’t necessarily reach a mass audience; it doesn’t have the support of mass marketing; it doesn’t have contemporary stars, with both gossip and press pieces floating through the blogosphere; it doesn’t have anything in support of that that’s going to make it topical and a must see in the moment,” Mangold said. “But these movies do exist and, in many ways, they exist more profoundly than they ever did.”

That optimism is compounded by the availability and awareness of classic filmdom, both on televisions, in movie theaters and online. “Twenty years ago the only way to see these pictures was basically if they’re one of the most famous Golden Age pictures they might be available on home video,” said Mangold. “Whatever TCM is doing it’s got a far bigger audience watching [on] any given hour than a rep house. There’s probably more people watching old films now than ever, so I try and remain optimistic.”

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” hits theaters June 30.