Christopher Nolan calls Warner Bros streaming announcement ‘very messy’

Christopher Nolan has weighed in on Warner Bros. recent announcement that they would release their entire slate of 2021 projects simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.

Speaking to ET, the writer/director called the decision “very, very, very, very messy,” admonishing not the decision itself but the sudden rollout.

“There’s such controversy around it, because they didn’t tell anyone,” he said.

“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. So, there’s a lot of controversy. It’s very, very, very, very messy. 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.”

Nolan’s Tenet was one of the only films to be released in re-opened theaters this summer, despite the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Reflecting on his feelings surrounding the release now, Nolan said it was impressive to see audiences turn out to watch Tenet in “places where the virus had been managed carefully and efficiently.”

“With the benefit of hindsight, it was great to see how audiences in places where the virus had been managed carefully and efficiently, where they could safely go back to movie theaters, people came back in great numbers,” he said.

“And what was a wonderful thing to see for the future of our business. Obviously, to not be able to travel the world with everyone involved with the film and have the premieres and experience it with audiences in, you know, Japan or Australia or wherever was a source of frustration. 

And then to not really be able to release the film in the United States was a source of frustration. But at the end of the day, 2020 has been a year of tremendous adversity for everybody on the planet, so we feel very lucky – I feel very lucky – to have been working and to have been engaged in a creative pursuit. I think it’s been a really fortunate thing for myself.”

Major Warner titles set to be released in US theaters and HBO Max in 2021 include Dune, The Matrix 4, The Suicide Squad, Godzilla vs. Kong, a Space Jam sequel, and others.

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