Christopher Nolan says he's in 'disbelief' over Warner Bros, HBO Max deal, criticises the same day streaming plan

Christopher Nolan said the studio's decision to release its films both theatrically and on HBO Max is motivated by its quest to save the 'fledgling streaming service'

Press Trust of India December 08, 2020 13:33:37 IST
Christopher Nolan says he's in 'disbelief' over Warner Bros, HBO Max deal, criticises the same day streaming plan

In a stinging critique of Warner Bros over the plan to release to its films both theatrically and on HBO Max, filmmaker Christopher Nolan said the studio's decision is motivated by its quest to save the "fledgling streaming service".

Last week, Warner Bros had announced that it will be releasing its entire slate of films for the year 2021 both theatrically and on HBO Max.

Among the films that are set to be available both theatrically and on HBO Max are big-budget tentpoles such as Denis Villeneuve's Dune, The Suicide Squad, the monster movie Godzilla vs Kong, and Keanu Reeves-starrer The Matrix 4.

During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Nolan said he is in "disbelief" over the studio's decision.

"Oh, I mean, disbelief. 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," Nolan said.

The 50-year-old filmmaker called the Warner Bros' plan a "real bait and switch".

"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 added.

Nolan has a long-standing partnership with Warner Bros, dating back to 2002 when he released his third directorial Insomnia with the studios.

Since then, the filmmaker has made his critically-acclaimed features such as The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk and most recently Tenet with the studio.

In a separate statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Nolan decided to double down on his criticism as he labelled HBO Max the "worst streaming service" and that the studio is "dismantling" the theatrical experience.

"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," Nolan said.

"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," he added.

Representatives for Warner Bros. and HBO Max are yet to comment on Nolan's remarks.

The studio's announcement came weeks days after it decided that Gal Gadot-starrer Wonder Woman 1984, a sequel to 2017 blockbuster Wonder Woman, will debut on HBO Max as well as movie theatres on Christmas.

Like Wonder Woman 1984, the 17 films that Warner Bros plans to release in 2021 will be available to HBO Max subscribers for 31 days. After the one-month mark, the films will only play in theatres.

At the time, Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, which includes Warner Bros. Pictures, had termed the company's hybrid model as a "unique one-year plan".

"With this unique one-year plan, we can support our partners in an exhibition with a steady pipeline of world-class films, while also giving moviegoers who may not have access to theatres or aren’t quite ready to go back to the movies the chance to see our amazing 2021 films," Sarnoff had said.

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