'Tenet' director Christopher Nolan slams Warner Bros' same-day streaming plan

The British filmmaker says that the decision 'makes no economic sense'

FILE PHOTO: Director Christopher Nolan poses at the 71st Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, France, May 13, 2018 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo
Powered by automated translation

Director Christopher Nolan has slammed plans by Warner Bros to release its 2021 films in cinemas and on its streaming service HBO Max on the same day, saying the studio should have consulted filmmakers first.

Nolan, whose thriller Tenet was released by Warner Bros earlier this year, said the work of top talent was being used "as a loss leader for the streaming service".

"There's such controversy around it, because they didn't tell anyone," Nolan told TV show Entertainment Tonight in an interview released on Monday.

This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Elizabeth Debicki, left, and John David Washington in a scene from "Tenet."  The film, which had hoped to herald Hollywood’s return to big theatrical releases, has yet again postponed its release due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Warner Bros. said Monday that “Tenet” will not make its August 12 release date. And unlike previous delays, the studio this time didn’t announce a new target for the release of Nolan’s much-anticipated $200 million thriller.  (Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP)
The release of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ was delayed three times because of the pandemic, but hit screens in the UAE in August. AP

In the unprecedented announcement last week, Warner Bros said all its 2021 films, including potential blockbusters such as Godzilla vs Kong and The Suicide Squad, will be available on HBO Max for one month starting on the same day they hit cinemas.

"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," Nolan said.

"And now they're being used as a loss-leader for the streaming service, for the fledgling streaming service, without any consultation."

Warner Bros on Monday had no comment on Nolan's remarks.

HBO Max was launched in May and competes in a streaming market that includes Disney+ and Netflix.

In a separate statement to the Hollywood Reporter, Nolan called HBO Max "the worst streaming service" and said the Warner Bros plan "makes no economic sense".

Nolan said he believed that cinema-going would bounce back in the long term once coronavirus vaccines were widely available and cinemas that have been shuttered around the world could reopen.

"What you have right now in our business is a lot of the use of the pandemic as an excuse for sort of grappling for short-term advantage," he told Entertainment Tonight.