Don’t expect The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan to sign up for HBO Max any time soon. On Monday evening, Nolan unloaded on WarnerMedia for smashing its theatrical window by sending Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 movie slate directly to HBO Max. The prolific director insisted that HBO Max is “the worst streaming service,” and he warned that filmmakers will no longer want to work with Warners in the wake of its industry-shattering 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,” said Nolan in a statement provided to 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,” he continued. “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.”
Nolan also told ET Online that WarnerMedia’s decision to debut films on HBO Max and in theaters concurrently is “very, very, very, very messy.” Added the director, “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.”
In the days since Warner Bros.’ December 3 announcement, Hollywood insiders have spoken anonymously with news outlet to voice their disappointment — “Warners has made a grave mistake,” a top talent agent told THR — but Nolan is the first industry heavyweight to publicly condemn the streaming push.
The intensity of Nolan’s statement immediately ignited a firestorm on Twitter, where critics, reporters, and casual fans discussed his all-out opposition to HBO Max with glee. “Nolan is hilariously wrong about HBO Max, which has by far the best movie library of any streamer,” tweeted Rolling Stone TV critic Alan Sepinwall. “Some folks may be missing Nolan’s point,” added THR’s Kim Masters, author of the original piece with Nolan’s statement. “He is saying this jeopardizes the entire economic structure of the movie business”
Regardless of Nolan’s (or anyone else’s) opposition, it’s unlikely that Warner Bros. will reverse the decision. Plus, with the debut of Mortal Kombat, Warner Bros.’ first 2021 film, just one month away, it seems that the train has already left the station.