Christopher Nolan reacts to WB’s HBO Max plans
Warner Bros. dropped a bombshell this week when it revealed that its entire slate of 2021 films, including the likes of Dune and Godzilla vs. Kong, would receive a simultaneous theatrical/HBO Max release. Predictably, Christopher Nolan, who has been an advocate for movie theaters — even going so far as to pen a letter to Congress alongside James Cameron asking for emergency funds to aid struggling theater chains — was none too happy about the announcement.
“Oh, I mean, disbelief,” Nolan told ET Online. “Especially the way in which they did. There’s such controversy around it, because they didn’t tell anyone. In 2021, they’ve got some of the top filmmakers in the world, they’ve got some of the biggest stars in the world who worked for years in some cases on these projects very close to their hearts that are meant to be big-screen experiences. They’re meant to be out there for the widest possible audiences… And now they’re being used as a loss-leader for the streaming service — for the fledgling streaming service — without any consultation. So, there’s a lot of controversy. It’s very, very, very, very messy. A real bait and switch. Yeah, it’s sort of not how you treat filmmakers and stars and people who, these guys have given a lot for these projects. They deserved to be consulted and spoken to about what was going to happen to their work.”
He went on to voice his belief that the movie theater experience will bounce back at some point and remain an important part of our ecosystem, but feels that the movie industry is using the pandemic “as an excuse for sort of grappling for short-term advantage.”
Later, in a separate statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Nolan commented, “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. Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theaters and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak. They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Their decision makes no economic sense and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.”
In the meantime Nolan’s Tenet, which was released in theaters in September, arrives on digital and Blu-ray on December 15.
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