"I don't think streaming is endangering movies," Gilligan told reporters at Monday's premiere of El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. "I think crappy movies are endangering movies. And remakes of remakes of remakes of remakes are endangering movies a hell of a lot more than streaming is."
Though Breaking Bad aired on AMC from 2008-2013, El Camino — which Gilligan both wrote and directed — will make its debut Friday on Netflix and in select theaters before eventually airing on AMC in early 2020.
Asked about the push by some in the industry to have streaming services removed from awards season consideration, Gilligan said, "I think it's a bummer."
"I get where it comes from," he continued, "but it feels akin to back in the silent movie days. The folks making silent movies, some of which were absolutely brilliant, but then sound comes in, and the people with ... the keys to the castle [are] saying, 'No movie with sound should ever win an Oscar. We're going to keep them all out of the running.' Well, things change, things evolve, and the way people watch movies evolves. And why is that a bad thing? Why is that to be feared?"
The debate around the role streaming should play in the future of movies intensified around the 91st Academy Awards in early 2019, when Netflix's Roma was nominated for best picture. (The movie took home trophies for best director for Alfonso Cuarón, best cinematography, and best foreign language film.) Netflix also has a major Oscar contender coming up in Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, which had movie theaters pushing the streaming service (unsuccessfully) to give the film a longer theatrical run.
In March, Steven Spielberg became the face of the movement to prevent streaming services from competing at the Oscars unless those movies were given full runs in theaters first, though the New York Times later reported that Spielberg's stance on Netflix had been mischaracterized. The Academy ultimately voted against changing the eligibility requirements.
"I get that people, the people who worry about this so much, do not want the communal experience, the group experience of watching movies, to go away," Gilligan said. "I don't think it ever will. People want to come together and hear a story. That's not going away."
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie premieres Friday, Oct. 11 on Netflix.
Additional reporting by Megan Vick