While many of us are ecstatic at the fact that we get to enjoy Warner Bros.’ entire slate of 2021 blockbusters in the comfort of our homes, critically acclaimed auteur Christopher Nolan isn’t one of those people. In a scathing statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter, the Memento and Dark Knight Trilogy director expressed his belief that sending films straight to streaming is an insult and betrayal of the cinematic art form.
“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 and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service,” Nolan’s statement reads.
“Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theaters and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak. They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Their decision makes no economic sense, and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.”
Unfortunately for Nolan, WarnerMedia parent AT&T remains firm on the plan despite impending legal challenges. During today’s investor conference, CEO John Stankey demonstrated enthusiasm for WB’s plan to debut films simultaneously in theaters and HBO Max, noting that it was a “win-win-win” decision for not only the company, but consumers as well.
What’s ironic and sad is that Tenet’s relatively dismal box office performance may have paved the way for Warner’s radical plan to move its biggest features straight to streaming. Nolan had used his time-bending action thriller as a vehicle to open theaters back up amid the coronavirus epidemic and encourage people to return to theaters, but it only ended up with a paltry domestic gross of $57 million. (In comparison, Dunkirk and Interstellar both made around $188 million domestically.)