Christopher Nolan leaves Warner Bros. after two decades and joins Universal
After nearly two decades of a working relationship, releasing multiple era-defining films, Christopher Nolan has finally parted ways with Warner Bros. The director had been having a strenuous relationship with the studios for some time, which culminated into this decision. Understandably, this decision will have huge ramifications for the studios. Here’s what we know.
Christopher Nolan leaves Warner Bros. for Universal
Deadline reported the news that Nolan’s upcoming film, a movie on J. Robert Oppenheimer and his involvement in the development of the Atomic bomb for the United States, has landed at Universal studios instead of Warner Bros. Ever since 2002, each one of Nolan’s films, from Insomnia to last year’s thriller Tenet, Warner Bros. has financed all of his movies. His biggest success with WB was undoubtedly The Dark Knight trilogy. Many critics still widely consider them as the greatest superhero movies of all time, despite Marvel’s success. Both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight rises grossed over $1 billion at the box office.
However, that relationship has finally ended. Deadline reported:
Sources said that the film is now greenlit to begin production in the first quarter of 2022. When Deadline broke the story a few days ago about this film being shopped, I’d heard Nolan’s longtime collaborator Cillian Murphy was in the mix for a key role. That might happen still, but I’m persuaded there are no definitive casting attachments at this point.
Nolan quite vocally criticised WB in the past for releasing their films on HBO Max and in theatres simultaneously
Christopher Nolan’s departure, however, does not come as a surprise. Since last year, Nolan and Warner Bros. had a strenuous relationship after WB. This was because of WB’s decision to release their entire 2021 lineup HBO Max on the same day their theatrical release. And Nolan was vocally and vehemently against this decision by WB. He revealed that the studios kept him and other filmmakers in the dark, saying:
There’s such controversy around it, because they didn’t tell anyone. 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. So, there’s a lot of controversy.
The Tenet director is not the only filmmaker to call out Warner Bros.
After a strong criticism like this, it seemed unlikely that the two would continue their partnership. Moreover, Christopher Nolan is not the only director to come out and launch a polemic. The Many Saints of Newark director David Chase also shared the same views as Nolan. In a recent interview, he said he hated this decision by Warner Bros. Moreover, he said wouldn’t have done the Sopranos prequel with them had he known this would happen. Many of these filmmakers are concerned that their movies will be deprived off of the cinematic experience that they built them around. For Chase, he felt that his movie will feel like another episode of The Sopranos to his audience. Whereas he made the movie with a theatrical experience in mind.
As far as Universal Studios are concerned, they also released The Boss Baby: Family Business and the upcoming Halloween Kills on Peacock streaming service the same way as Warner Bros. However, don’t expect Universal to do something similar to Christopher Nolan.