Christopher Nolan has called Warner Bros. his cinematic home for many years now, but it looks like the prolific director is going to war with the major movie studio. In a statement released to The Hollywood Reporter, the Tenet director directly attacked Warner Bros.’ landmark decision to simultaneously release their 2021 slate of films in theaters and on HBO Max.
“Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service,” said Christopher Nolan to The Hollywood Reporter. There is no question that Nolan is railing against his home studio in a public and very aggressive manner. Considering he is the studio’s golden child – they have funded his mega-budget original films like Inception, Dunkirk, and Tenet – it is undeniably shocking to hear him go to war against them.
Unfortunately, it does not seem like Christopher Nolan remembers that these movies will have theatrical releases as well and will only remain on HBO Max for a month. Instead, Nolan seems to want people to expose themselves to potential contamination as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists going to a movie theater as one of their higher-risk activities. If people want to do that, that option will still be available to them since the movies will also be released in theaters the same day they hit HBO Max.
Christopher Nolan also seems woefully out of touch with the normal theater-going experience in America. Large chains like AMC and Regal have helped degrade the theatrical exhibition experience by allowing presentation standards to plummet. Not to mention that audience etiquette and enforcement of decorum are equally abysmal. It is very likely that Christopher Nolan hasn’t seen a movie in a mall theater or another rural area in many years.
There is definitely a seismic shockwave radiating throughout the movie industry after WarnerMedia’s game-changing decision. Christopher Nolan is a staunch defender of film preservation and theatrical exhibition, but he does not look to have funded any COVID relief for the audience he supposedly cares deeply about. Does Nolan care more about the actual theaters than the patrons that keep them going? Because his stance seems weighted towards the exhibitors instead of the audience.
It will be intriguing to see if any other high-profile creative talent speaks out against the HBO Max release strategy. It is certain that there is a lot going down behind the scenes this week. There is no question that many directors, actors, producers, and other filmmaking entities are being contacted and consulted after the fact. Will Christopher Nolan’s hardline stance catch on with other people in the Hollywood industry? Or are things going to even out as this release strategy actually takes shape?
It’s a whole new world when it comes to studio film distribution. Will this only be a one-time fix for an upcoming year that will still feel the effects of the COVID pandemic? Or is Warner Bros. planning to make this the new normal? And will Christopher Nolan be jumping ship to another studio that will fund his exorbitant pictures? What a time to be alive and a movie fan.