Famed director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Tenet) has sent the entertainment industry abuzz after his recent comments towards Warner Bros., after the news came out that the studio would release their entire 2021 theatrical slate on HBO Max, the same day they hit theaters.
“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.”
Earlier this week, while speaking with another publication, he continued his distain towards the decision.
“It’s very, very, very, very messy. A real bait and switch. It’s not how you treat filmmakers and stars. 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.”
Since Insomnia, which released in 2002, every film Nolan has directed has been released through Warner Bros., each receiving financial and/or critical success. Nolan continues to push the boundaries of storytelling and has become one of the top directors in the business. However, his relationship with Warner Bros. is now strained and the director could be on the move to another studio. Nolan does not have any first look-look deals, contracts, or any official projects in the works with the studio, so a move could be coming, with a long list of competing studios open for his services.
According to Variety, Disney has tried to poach Nolan away from Warner Bros. in the past. Alan Horn, Walt Disney Studio’s current chairman, was a top executive at Warner Bros. who helped establish the studio’s relationship with the director.
It should be noted, that despite Disney’s interest years ago, Alan Horn is still with the company (though rumors have surfaced that he could retire at the end of 2021), and he and executive chairman, Bob Iger have a great deal of respect for the director, so they could take this opportunity to court him again.
If Thursday’s Investor Day 2020 meeting taught us anything, it is that Disney is all in on their future with streaming, which is something Nolan wants nothing to do with, as he loves cinema.
That said, Disney firmly believes that movie theaters will be back next year and have multiple features that are planned for theatrical release, including Black Widow, Jungle Cruise, Shang-Chi, Eternals, and The Little Mermaid. Disney is one of the few studios that could afford the scale of a Nolan production, which regularly carry price tags above $100 million and include unusually specific provisions about many things, including release plans.
Disney obviously wouldn’t be the only major studio vying for his services, as Variety states, Sony, Paramount and Universal, are all in the picture and would love to work with him.
Christopher Nolan has a storied directing career that includes Batman Begins, The Prestige The Dark Knight, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar, Dunkirk, and Tenet.