‘Tenet’ filmmaker Christopher Nolan not likely to work with Warner Bros again
Tensions between the director and company stem from the latter's new distribution strategy
Acclaimed director Christopher Nolan may be putting an end to his almost two-decade-long partnership with Warner Bros (WB).
Nolan and the entertainment giant have been working together since his 2002 feature Insomnia, with WB handling domestic and international distribution for his films. They have also worked together on projects such as Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk and The Dark Knight trilogy.
Tensions arose, however, with the director’s latest film Tenet. The science fiction thriller opened in theatres in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic, but performed poorly in the US and international box office. At the same time that Tenet screened in the US, WB announced that it would release its line-up of 2021 films in theatres and on HBO Max simultaneously.
This move upset Nolan, who has made his name with films that demand an experience in the theatre. “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,” Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter in December, “and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.”
A new report in The Wall Street Journal this week hints that Nolan is “unlikely” to work with the studio again for his next project, considering WB’s new strategy. While the report did not quote Nolan directly, it cited sources familiar with the matter.
The rise in streaming platforms such as Netflix has compelled Hollywood studios to rethink their business model from tickets at the box office to subscriptions online. The pandemic has helped accelerate this too, with theatres forced to shut for months and social distancing measures in place.
Among the big-screen titles that WB is slated to release this year are Dune, Matrix 4 and Godzilla vs Kong. The company’s strategy is to make the films available in theatres while concurrently putting them on HBO Max to stream for one month. After that period, the film will continue to be shown in theatres and will then follow other distribution channels, including DVD releases, before returning to the streaming service.
Updated: January 24, 2021 02:46 PM