Christopher Nolan, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, on the HBO Max streaming deal:
“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,” filmmaker Christopher Nolan, whose relationship with Warners dates back to Insomnia in 2002, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Added Nolan: “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.”
Warner Bros. bent over backwards and released Nolan’s latest film, Tenet, into a pandemic-stricken America where almost nobody went to the theater to see it. And for most of 2021, nobody is going to the theater to see any other films, either. Explain the economic sense in that.
Nolan’s statement is simply “I don’t like this and I want people to hear me complain” but he offers no suggestions for what Warner Bros. should be doing during the pandemic. It’s fine to criticize and Warner can take criticism, but it just sounds like whining if you aren’t going to offer any real solutions.
All of this comes a week before Nolan’s latest block_luster_ film, _Tenet_ is released on HBO Max. Talk about biting the hand that has fed you for the last two decades.
So here’s my suggestion to Warner: Cut him lose. Nolan’s been out of good ideas for movies since before Inception and he’s quickly becoming the next M. Night Shyamalan. His zeal for the theatrical experience is from a bygone era lacking smartphones and distractions, where politness and courtesy were enforced by social norms. The future of film distribution is changing, and if Nolan doesn’t want to be part of that change, let him sign with Sony or Universal, a studio without a streaming service.
My advice to Nolan: Crawl out of your ass and open a newspaper. People are dying. We can’t safely leave our homes or visit family during the holidays. You grew up rich and privileged and you’re richer and more privileged during a global pandemic, with one of the best jobs on the planet. You make the film, but you don’t get to dictate how I’ll watch it. In fact, when I stream Tenet next weekend, I’m going to purposefully enable motion smoothing on my TV.
The theater experience will always exist. Warner Bros. couldn’t destroy it if they tried. But it is evolving in ways that audiences have been prepared for, with 65-inch LED HDR TVs, soundbars, and home theaters that are incredibly capable of providing a captivating experience in the comfort of home.
Walking into a theater today is like walking into a burning multiplex to watch a movie, and hoping you’ll make it to the end of the film without getting burned. It’s dumb foolish, and I’m baffled and angry that Nolan seems to lack any concern for the health and safety of his audiences. Warner Bros. is making a difficult decision that seems to only benefit the home streaming consumer, but the alternatives — release movies into empty theaters, or wait another year without releasing anything — are worse. As a movie fan and owner of a pretty good TV, I have to say I’m really happy with Warner Bros.