Christopher Nolan is probably the only director working in Hollywood whose name is enough to an entirely original $200 million budgeted film. That is something the TENET director has built on over years of public trust. But it is also his talent in bringing new ideas to the large screen that has inspired a generation of film watching public. So, would he throw it all away to sign with Netflix, the platform which kicked off the slow demise of theaters?
Christopher Nolan has made some great originals during his time with Warner Bros. Even before he got WB, the director made Following and one of the most discussed movies of our time, Memento. And even if you exclude the Batman series, the director has made blockbuster sci-fi and war movies based on original ideas, not linked with any IP whatsoever.
But recently the Nolan clashed with Warner Bros. after the release of his latest movie. The director was angry about the studio announcing that all their 2021 movies would be released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. Christopher Nolan went on a tirade, lambasting HBO Max and also questioning the streaming business.
Still, the inevitable is near, theaters will probably remain but they will not be the dominant method of movie viewing for audiences of the future. The Interstellar director is aware of the situation but no one can fault him for trying to protect a form of media he loves. And even more interesting is the fact Netflix is approaching Nolan to release his next movie with the streamer.
Christopher Nolan is Getting Approached by Netflix
After losing one permanent blockbuster director, Zack Snyder, Warner Bros. looks destined to lose another in Christopher Nolan. His issues with the production company is well documented at this point and if WB persist on its way of prioritizing streaming over cinematic release, it is almost a certainty Nolan will be out of there.
If there is one thing that can be said about Christopher Nolan, it is that the director loves cinema, and watching movies in theatre. We are also of the belief that some films are not meant to be watched on a small screen. Terrance Malik’s movies, Kubrick’s classics, they just feel different watching on a large screen with other random strangers.
While the COVID pandemic does make it hard to trust who is vaccinated and who is going to get you sick, but still, the communal and out of body experience inside a theater cannot be replicated on a 6-inch phone. But that is not stopping Netflix’s head of original movie, Scott Stuber, from going after Christopher Nolan, a man fighting for theaters.
While speaking with Variety, Scott said, “If and when [Nolan] comes up with his new movie, it’s about can we be a home for it and what would we need to do to make that happen. He’s an incredible filmmaker. I’m going to do everything I can. In this business I’ve learned you need to have zero ego. I get punched and knocked down and get back up.”
The only way Nolan is moving homes is if he gets assurances his films will be released worldwide in theaters. And one thing Netflix does not have is an international distribution experience. “I think there are aspects of global distribution in the cinema that are still appealing. Chris Nolan and I have spoken quite a bit…and that’s still something he wants deeply. If we can’t provide that, it will still be an issue for him,” Stuber explained as he seems to understand the priorities of Nolan.
Christopher Nolan recently released TENET in theaters. The film grossed over $350 million at the box office, despite being released during the thick of the pandemic and theater closures. The film cost $200 million to produce so it was not a great moment for Warner Bros. still, TENET showed the original thinking talent of Nolan is far from gone.
Despite the film being a pandemic-flop at the box office, there are immense interest in what the director is going to do next. As with any Nolan project, there is palpable excitement and Netflix wants them to be one releasing the film. They would give the Inception director anything he wanted, the above statement reads as such, but is Nolan willing to sell his soul to the same entity that is killing mid-budget spectacles and theater going as a whole? Only time will tell!
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