FILE - In this May 12, 2018, file photo, director Christopher Nolan poses during a photo call at the 71st international film festival in Cannes, southern France. Nolan, one of Warner Bros.’ most important filmmakers, has come out strongly against the company’s decision to send all of its films to HBO Max in 2021. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP, File)

Christopher Nolan calls Warner’s streaming plan ‘a mess’

Christopher Nolan, one of Warner Bros.’ most important filmmakers, has come out strongly against the company’s decision to debut its films on HBO Max and in theatres in 2021. The “Tenet” filmmaker told The Associated Press Monday that it’s not a good business decision and criticized how the company handled it.

“It’s a unilateral decision that the studio took. They didn’t even tell the people involved,” Nolan said. “You have these great filmmakers who worked with passion and diligence for years on projects that are intended to be feature films with fantastic movie stars. And they’ve all now been told that they’re a loss-leader for a fledgling streaming service.”

The company announced last week that its 2021 film slate, including the new “Matrix” movie, “Dune” and “In the Heights” would debut on its streaming service and in theatres simultaneously in the U.S., rattling Hollywood and resulting in doomsday predictions about the future of the movie theatre.

“I’ve never seen everybody so upset about one particular decision,” Nolan said.

AMC Theaters chief Adam Aron condemned the move last week, but no in-house filmmaker has spoken out on the record until Nolan, one of the studio’s marquee names. Nolan has worked with Warner Bros. on every film since 2002’s “Insomnia” in a profitable and critically acclaimed run that’s included “The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Inception” and “Dunkirk.”

“It’s not right. And it’s not a good business decision,” Nolan said. “It’s all a bit of a mess.”

The studio declined comment.

“Tenet,” his time-bending sci-fi thriller starring John David Washington, is not following suit and heading straight to HBO Max. It is being released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital on Dec. 15. Nolan said he’s “very glad” his film “isn’t caught up in the mess that they’ve made.”

“We will be accessible through Roku and Amazon Prime and iTunes and be everywhere all at once for people to enjoy,” Nolan added.

“Tenet” was the first and only major blockbuster to test the waters opening in theatres in early September after they had been closed for nearly six months because of the pandemic. With major markets like Los Angeles and New York closed, domestic ticket sales fizzled, and Warner Bros. and other studios responded by delaying the year’s remaining major films. But internationally “Tenet” has made over $300 million.

“That sends a very optimistic message about when theatres can open, as long as there are films for them to show, people are going to come back,” Nolan said. “I think everybody in this business completely understands that long term people are always going to want to go to the movies. I think that a lot of short-term thinking going on right now, which is maybe inevitable in such a terrible situation.”

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Town of Ponoka and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) have ratified a new agreement, averting a strike. (File photo from Facebook)
Alberta gov’t ‘using pandemic as shield to lay off workers,’ says AUPE

The Government of Alberta’s “attacks on workers” is continuing with a new… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House RCMP, EMS, Search and Rescue, STARS air ambulance and Alstrom Helicopters worked together to rescue a fallen ice climber Friday. (Photo contributed by Rocky Mountain House RCMP)
Rocky Mountain House RCMP help rescue fallen ice climber

Rocky Mountain RCMP helped assist a fallen ice climber Friday afternoon. At… Continue reading

Students Association of Red Deer College president Brittany Lausen says she’s pleased the college is offering students a choice to attend class in-person or remotely. (Red Deer Advocate file photo)
Red Deer College winter term enrolment dips

Enrolment down about six per cent but mix of online and in-person instruction is going over well

Brett Salomons, of Salomons Commercial, and Mark Jones, CEO of the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, in the CACAC's new temporary home. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre’s One Day Challenge returns

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre has announced its One Day Challenge is… Continue reading

Dwayne Buckle, 40 of Red Deer finished a 1,638-kilometre walk, in honour of his family. The 12-week, 82 day-journey wrapped up in Port Hardy, B.C. on Monday. Facebook photo
Red Deer man completes 1,638 km hike for cancer research

Dwayne Buckle, a Red Deer firefighter returned home Friday after his 12-week journey

A Suncor logo is shown at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Body of worker whose bulldozer fell through ice on inactive tailings pond recovered

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Oilpatch giant Suncor says the body of a… Continue reading

A restaurant manager in Orlando used a sign to secretly ask an 11-year-old boy if he needs help from his family after they were spotted withholding food from him. (Photo courtesy Orlando Police Department)
WATCH: Restaurant manager uses secret note to ‘rescue’ child, says Orlando Police

The manager of an Orlando restaurant is receiving praise from police after… Continue reading

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will cripple struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

VICTORIA — A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Quebec and Ontario, the two provinces hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic,… Continue reading

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. A young snowshoer who set out alone on a rugged mountain trail on Vancouver's north shore Thursday has died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Snowshoer dies after overnight search on Vancouver-area mountain: RCMP

SQUAMISH, B.C. — A snowshoer who set out alone on a rugged… Continue reading

nunavut
‘It was joyous:’ Sun returns to some Nunavut communities for first time in weeks

IQALUIT — A sliver of orange rose over Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, earlier… Continue reading

People take photos through the extensive security surrounding the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, ahead of the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Susan Walsh
Less pomp, very different circumstances as D.C. prepares to inaugurate Biden, Harris

WASHINGTON — Some pomp. Very different circumstances. Inauguration day is supposed to… Continue reading

Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu (88) and Nikolaj Ehlers (27) defend against Jansen Harkins (12) during scrimmage at their NHL training camp practice in Winnipeg, Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Winnipeg Jets cancel practice due to possible COVID-19 exposure

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets have cancelled their practice today due to… Continue reading

Most Read