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Christopher Nolan has called out Warner Bros.’ surprise plans to release all of its 2021 film slate on HBO Max, a move which he says makes ‘no economic sense’.
The director also took issue with the film studio’s platform of choice and the fact that filmmakers and actors were not given warning of the decision.
‘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,’ he said of HBO Max.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said the decision will dismantle the way movies are currently rolled out, and lead to a loss in profit.
‘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,’ he said.
Nolan added: ‘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.’
On December 3, Warner Bros. released a surprise statement saying it would be putting all of its 2021 releases on HBO Max for the first month of release. After being available to stream on the platform for a month, each title would be removed while still being available in cinemas.
In its statement, chair and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, Ann Sarnoff, said the new model was created in response to the impact of the ongoing pandemic.
We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group. No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do. We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the idea was put forward with the aim of avoiding the humiliation of potentially bad grosses as many cinemas remain closed during the pandemic.
Some of the titles set for release next year, which will land on HBO Max, include The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead and Matrix 4.
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