Martin Scorsese says emphasis on box office numbers is "repulsive" and "insulting"

Martin Scorsese
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Martin Scorsese has some choice words for movie-goers who fixate on box office numbers.

"Cinema is devalued, demeaned, belittled from all sides, not necessarily the business side but certainly the art. Since the ’80s, there’s been a focus on numbers. It’s kind of repulsive," he told the crowd at the New York Film Festival premiere of his new documentary, Personality Crisis: One Night Only (via IndieWire).

"The cost of a movie is one thing. Understand that a film costs a certain amount, they expect to at least get the amount back, plus, again," the filmmaker explained. "The emphasis is now on numbers, cost, the opening weekend, how much it made in the U.S.A., how much it made in England, how much it made in Asia, how much it made in the entire world, how many viewers it got.”

He added: "As a filmmaker, and as a person who can’t imagine life without cinema, I always find it really insulting. I’ve always known that such considerations have no place at the New York Film Festival, and here’s the key also with this: There are no awards here. You don’t have to compete. You just have to love cinema here.”

Personality Crisis: One Night Only follows David Johansen, lead singer-songwriter of 1970s glam punk band the New York Dolls, and his later transformation into the artist known as Buster Poindexter. Directed by Scorsese and David Tedeschi, the film will be released via Showtime at a later date.

For more, check out our list of the most exciting upcoming movies in 2022 and beyond, or, skip straight to the good stuff with our list of movie release dates.

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.