James Toback was ostensibly on hand at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills on Thursday to discuss "Seduced and Abandoned," his film with Alec Baldwin about the world of film financing.
But he had plenty to say about other films too.
During an impassioned segment of his panel on the HBO film, Toback opined that franchise films are "idiocy" and predicted doom for the theater-going experience, saying that home entertainment will "obliterate" it.
Responding to a question about George Lucas and Steven Spielberg's recent prediction that the age of the mega-budget film is on the way out, Toback took the opportunity to blast franchise films as "idiocy."
"I think anyone who's been around and watched this idiocy is aware of how pitifully low grade the ambition is and how nutty the execution is," said Toback — who was joined via satellite by Baldwin at the panel.
"I think the crisis is much, much, much bigger than what Spielberg was talking about. I think the crisis has to do with does theatrical distribution has a future at all," he continued.
Comparing the conveniences of viewing films at home verses the costs and hassles of seeing films in theaters, Toback opined that the idea of theaters would never fly if it was introduced in today's world of options.
"We're talking about a technology that only still exists because it always has existed. And there's been a nostalgic desire to keep it alive, and I think as more and more as days pass and the younger generation gets older, it's going to be regarded as a kind of quaint, outdated medium," Toback said. "And that's the real question we're dealing with — how home entertainment will obliterate theatrical entertainment."
On the topic of film financing, Toback also offered his thoughts on Kickstarter. As it turns out, he's not a fan.
"I always prefer to get money from someone i can see, and somebody whose lapels I can grab," Toback said, "and someone i can physically threaten if they decide to back out."