Christopher Nolan has blasted Warner Bros. for the studio's decision to release all of its 2021 movies on HBO Max, as well as in cinemas.
Nolan, 50, has a long relationship with the studio that dates back to 2002's Insomnia. His other Warner Bros-produced movies include Dunkirk, Inception, Interstellar, The Dark Knight trilogy, and most recently, Tenet, the last major tentpole movie to launch in US cinemas amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Nolan said he was left stunned by their new release strategy. "There’s such controversy around it, because they didn’t tell anyone. It’s very, very, very, very messy," he said.
"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.”
On December 3, Warner Bros confirmed its divisive plans to simultaneously release all 17 of its 2021 titles — including Dune, The Matrix 4, Godzilla vs Kong and The Suicide Squad — on streaming platform HBO Max, as well as a theatrical release.
Nolan suggested the move from parent company WarnerMedia was unfair on the artists involved.
He explained: "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.”
Nolan also expressed his disappointment to The Hollywood Reporter: "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."
He added: “Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theatres 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.”
WarnerMedia will try out this dual strategy with Wonder Woman 1984, which will debut in the US simultaneously on HBO Max and in cinemas on Dec 25. In Singapore, the superhero sequel will open on the big screen on Dec 17. — BANG
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