Steven Spielberg thinks that filmmakers were "thrown under the bus" by the pandemic.

The legendary director, 75, explained that while the COVID-19 crisis allowed streaming platforms to thrive when cinemas were closed during lockdown, moviemakers had some of their work "relegated" to services such as HBO Max.

He said: "The pandemic created an opportunity for streaming platforms to raise their subscriptions to record-breaking levels and also throw some of my best filmmaker friends under the bus as their movies were unceremoniously not given theatrical releases. They were paid off and the films were suddenly relegated to, in this case, HBO Max. The case I’m talking about.”

The 'Jaws' director went on to explain that the pandemic was a catalyst for change and while the older generation of moviegoers may have initially been "relieved" that they did not have to make the trip to the cinema, they may now "miss" being in a social situation.

He told The New York Times: "I think older audiences were relieved that they didn’t have to step on sticky popcorn. But I really believe those same older audiences, once they got into the theatre, the magic of being in a social situation with a bunch of strangers is a tonic."

In 2020, studio giant Warner Bros. announced that all of its releases for 2021 would be made available on the streaming platform in order to "guarantee" as much market appeal as possible.

Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman said at the time: "It allows us to do a global release and a national release in what we think is going to be a checkerboarded theatrical marketplace for the bulk of 2021. We think where theatres are open, and consumers can go, that a lot of people will choose to go to the theatre, especially for big movies. It is to guarantee as many movies as we could for the year for the global theatrical marketplace."