Industry Titan Christopher Nolan Balks at Warner Bros. Same-Day Theaters and Streaming Movie Release Schedule

The most powerful director outside of James Cameron has spoken out.

Nolan, the director of this summer’s Tenet, voiced his displeasure at studio Warner Bros. decision to release their entire 2021 movie slate on the fledgling streaming platform HBO Max the same day the movies are released in theaters.

Along with other powerful voices in Hollywood, Nolan is speaking out about Warner Bros. decision, asserting there was a lack of transparency and communication in the process.

“There’s such controversy around it, because they didn’t tell anyone,” Nolan said. “…They’ve got some of the top film-makers 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 … And now they’re being used as a loss-leader for the streaming service … without any consultation.”

Nolan’s sharp criticism is prudent because he has been an integral part of the Warner Bros. family since his 2002 film Insomnia. Nolan shot to fame with 2005’s Batman Begins and reinvented the comic book genre with the Dark Knight trilogy’s gritty, grounded aesthetic and realism.

The Dark Knight trilogy’s nearly $2.5 billion worldwide box office haul cemented Nolan’s status as one of the premier directors in Hollywood, and made for a lucrative film marriage with Warner Bros. as all his subsequent films were released under the studio.

Domestic bliss quickly vanished this summer between the studio and film-maker as Nolan fervently pushed for his latest tentpole, Tenet, to be released in theaters amid the pandemic.

Tenet’s original release date of July 17 was pushed back to July 31, then August 12, and was eventually released on September 3 at the behest of Nolan.

The results were disastrous for the studio.

The box office numbers showed that audiences were still wary about the going to the movies during the pandemic. Tenet grossed a paltry $57.6 million at the U.S. box office and lead to nearly $100 million in losses for the studio.

The losses, combined with parent company AT&T’s staggering $163.1 billion debt, quickly pushed the studio to release their entire 17-movie 2021 slate in theaters and same day on HBO Max to stop the bleeding. Warner Bros. is getting the jump on this plan at the end of 2020 by releasing Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day in theaters and on HBO Max.

The movies will release concurrently for one month, and then leave HBO Max for a period of time. However, this could have legal consequences for the studio. Legendary is considering suing Warner Bros. Legendary co-financed two very expensive films with Warner Bros.: Godzilla vs. Kong and Dune, and is attempting to renegotiate their contracts in light of the projected loss in revenue from cinemas.

Dune director Dennis Villeneuve, a talented auteur in his own right, was also displeased with the situation believing that Dune was meant to be seen on the big screen.

All that’s left to do is wait to see if Nolan’s clout can reverse course and restore theatrical order. Otherwise, it may be the end of cinema as we know it. And that is a movie no one wants to see.

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Source: The Guardian

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