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Data: PricewaterhouseCoopers; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Legendary Hollywood filmmaker Martin Scorcese is clearing up controversial comments he made last month that Disney's Marvel movies are "not cinema" and instead are akin to theme park rides.

Why it matters: Scorcese's comments reflect a greater sentiment of old-guard Hollywood pushing back against the franchising of action films and the greater digitization of movies in today's cinema landscape.

  • Earlier this year, Steven Spielberg suggested a rules change that would disqualify movies from Oscars consideration that debut on streaming services or only appear in a short theatrical window.

Driving the news: In an op-ed in The New York Times yesterday, Scorcese argued that with Marvel movies, there's "nothing at risk" and no "revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger."

  • "They are sequels in name but they are remakes in spirit," he writes.
  • Disney Chairman Bob Iger said not too shortly before the release of Scorcese's statements, "Anyone who has seen a Marvel film could not in all truth make that statement."

The big picture: The comments come as more digital Hollywood firms, like Netflix, push the boundaries of how soon they can release their Oscar hopeful films on their own digital platforms after first releasing them in theaters, to be eligible for awards.

  • Most recently, Netflix agreed to a month-long theatrical release of its new hit "The Irishman," directed by Scorcese, but theater owners argue that it wasn't a long enough moment of exclusivity for them.

The bottom line: The economics don't mode well for the theater chains, but they aren't miserable either. U.S. cinema revenue continues to plateau as ticket prices increase, suggesting that theater-viewing isn't dead yet. Digital movie-viewing, however, continues to skyrocket.

Go deeper: Hollywood's cave to China on censorship

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.

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