It seems Warner Brothers has managed to do the impossible, pissing off pretty much all of Hollywood at once after announcing all of their 2021 films will be released on HBO Max the same day they hit theaters. From an irate Independent Cinema Alliance, to angry agents asking why their clients aren't getting a Gal Godot-esque compensation deal for the shift, and Dune's production company even threatening to sue, essentially everyone in the entertainment industry is pretty peeved at the decision.
The latest critic? not-so-silent film director, Christopher Nolan. Although the Tenet director has maintained a working relationship with Warner Bros. since 2002's Insomnia, Nolan didn't mince words when expressing his disdain for the highly-controversial release plan. "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," the Travis Scott collaborator told The Hollywood Reporter. "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.” Ouch.
While Nolan has always been a vocal advocate of theatrical releases, one of his main gripes with the decision was the way the studio allegedly didn't tell any of the agencies or management companies associated with the 17 impacted films about their plans until roughly 90 minutes before going public in what was probably one of the worst surprises of their careers.
"There's such controversy around it, because they didn't tell anyone," Nolan explained to ET. "In 2021, 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. They're meant to be out there for the widest possible audiences... And now they're being used as a loss-leader for the streaming service -- for the fledgling streaming service -- without any consultation."
The Inception director even went as far to compare the rollout to an illegal scam tactic. "So, there's a lot of controversy," he added. "It's very, very, very, very messy. A real bait and switch. Yeah, it's sort of not how you treat filmmakers and stars and people who, these guys have given a lot for these projects. They deserved to be consulted and spoken to about what was going to happen to their work."
So reader, if there's anything we can glean from this, if you find yourself as Nolan's secret Santa, maybe avoid gifting him an HBO Max membership. I don't think he'll want it very much anymore.