Christopher Nolan Slams HBO Max And Warner Bros. For 2021 Release Strategy

Christopher Nolan has been making movies with Warner Bros. for nearly two decades, but now it looks like their relationship has soured.

As we told you earlier this month, Warner Bros. revealed a new release plan for the upcoming 2021 movie season. They plan to release all their upcoming blockbusters on HBO Max at the same time they enter theaters.

They claimed it was because they knew 2021 would still be a turbulent year and they wanted to get ahead of the curve. But others say it was more of a protective move.

Surprisingly to some in the industry, sources say the idea was the brainchild of Warner Bros. COO Carolyn Blackwood who, looking at a relatively weak 2021 slate, saw an opportunity to avoid the humiliation of potentially bad grosses while currying favor with streamer-obsessed higher-ups. 

Well, Nolan talked to The Hollywood Reporter about this move by Warner Bros., and it’s safe to say he was not happy.

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.

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. Now we all know Nolan has a pretty strong theater fetish. I mean, I do as well. I love going to the movies, but Nolan is like…IT DOESN’T COUNT UNLESS IT’S INSIDE A THEATER!

This is kinda similar to the political world right now. You have extremes on both sides. You have people like Nolan, and then you have people who seem to believe theaters are dead and we should just forget about them.

There is room in the middle, and honestly, I’m not thrilled with Warner Bros. decision either. I think it’s a big hit to theaters when they can’t afford to take any other hits.

So, hey, I guess I’m all for this rant by Nolan. But at the same time, you can’t just stick your fingers inside your ears and pretend everything is going to be back to normal in a few months.

Things may not be “normal” until August, so studios have to make a plan. You can’t just keep pushing movies back. I don’t know what the solution is.

Christopher Nolan Insists Theatrical Release Of ‘Tenet’ Was A Success

We all remember the drama surrounding the release of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet‘ in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was pushed back several times, but Nolan and the Warner Bros. team were adamant about releasing it inside theaters.

They finally did it back in late August/early September, and the results weren’t great. They weren’t terrible, but they certainly didn’t bring theaters back in the game.

It’s grossed nearly $350 million globally in two months, which again, isn’t terrible. But the budget was north of $200 million, not including a pricey marketing campaign.

Nolan recently spoke to the Los Angeles Times recently, and he seemed to be very pleased with Tenet’s box office haul.

Warner Bros. released ‘Tenet,’ and I’m thrilled that it has made almost $350 million. I am worried that the studios are drawing the wrong conclusions from our release — that rather than looking at where the film has worked well and how that can provide them with much needed revenue, they’re looking at where it hasn’t lived up to pre-COVID expectations and will start using that as an excuse to make exhibition take all the losses from the pandemic instead of getting in the game and adapting — or rebuilding our business, in other words.

And he does have a point. The film did perform better in some areas, and instead of focusing on where it went wrong (New York, Los Angeles) they should be looking at where it went right.

How can they possibly have similar releases, with perhaps much smaller films, where they don’t necessarily need a huge return to make their money back?

It’s an interesting point. But at the end of the day, Nolan was never going to slam the release date decision, so he’s kinda forced to defend it.

‘Tenet’ Goes Over $200 Million Globally, But Continues To Disappoint In The States

There is some good news and some bad news for Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet‘ film. The good news is that it crossed the $200 million mark globally. It’s been performing well overseas, which is of course a positive.

The film was made on a $200 million budget, but experts say the film needs to make at least another $100 million to break even, due to marketing costs.

So what’s the bad news? Well, the film continues to struggle domestically. It made just $6.7 million in the U.S. and Canada during its second weekend of release.

Warner Bros. knew the film would have a slow start amid the pandemic, but the studio was clearly hoping that ‘Tenet’ would perform better in the U.S. Want a clue as to how they really view the viability of U.S. theaters right now? Less than a week after ‘Tenet’ premiered domestically, Warner Bros. delayed its comic book sequel ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ from October to Christmas Day.

There are a number of things contributing to Tenet’s slow start here in the states. Obviously you have to start with the ongoing pandemic. Not only are some people afraid to go inside a theater, other people don’t even have the choice because theaters are still closed in their area.

Movie theaters in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are still closed, so that’s a huge chunk of the market. Around 30% of the market. Additionally, the theaters that are open have limited seating avaiable, which has a poor impact on ticket sales.

But still, even with all that going against it, ‘Tenet’ could be seeing better results right now. And I believe the reason it’s not is because it’s not a good movie. I watched the movie at a drive-in last weekend and it was not Nolan’s best.

It was boring, which is crazy to say about a Nolan movie, but it was! It was also predictable and had an extremely generic feel. It wasn’t a BAD movie, but it’s not the, “Oh my god, you must see this!” film it needs to be during a pandemic.

That’s my opinion anyway. Have you watched it? Did you enjoy it?

‘Tenet’ Has An Okayish Debut At The U.S. Box Office, But Was It Enough?

Well, ‘Tenet‘ surprised some people two weekends ago when it made over $50 million in its debut overseas. The studio was hoping the momentum would carry over to the debut here in the states on Labor Day weekend.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case. The sci-fi thriller brought in a little over $20 million over the 4-day weekend, which is obviously better than any other recent release. It’s the highest-grossing domestic release since March.

But still, those numbers are not what the studio expected when they dreamed of releasing another Christopher Nolan epic. After all, the movie was made on a $200 million budget, not including marketing costs.

In total, the film has made around $150 million globally, but that’s not nearly enough.

Ticket sales for the film have cleared $150 million globally to date. It needs to make approximately $400 million in box office receipts worldwide to break even and closer to $450 million to turn a profit.

And it’s too early to know if it’ll get close to that. The studio has revealed their goal is to be in theaters for a longer amount of time, which could result in multiple $15 to $20 million weekends. If that’s the case, then perhaps their plan will work.

But studios are still afraid of the risk. The next ~big~ film set for release is Wonder Woman 1984, which is scheduled to hit theaters on October 2, 2020. Although, there hasn’t been a lot of promotion for it recently, so the studio might be thinking about delaying the release.

So yeah, the good news is that the movie theater is not dead. People are still going to the movies.

The bad news? They might be changed forever.

The First Reviews For Christopher Nolan’s Spy Thriller Are In, And They’re A Little Confusing

Thanks to the coronavirus, the release date for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet‘ film was pushed back a handful of times. After the second or third delay, the studio decided to go with a different approach.

Instead of one big release date, they would do a sort of staggered release. They’d release the film where theaters were open, and slowly spread to more locations. Their plan is to be in theaters for a longer amount of time.

And the start of that experiment begins next week, with the film premiering in multiple international markets. It’ll then be released in the states in early September.

The first reviews of the film were released today, and while most of them are positive, the response isn’t as unanimous as we’ve come to expect for Nolan films.

The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin loved the movie:

The depth, subtlety and wit of Pattinson and Debicki’s performances only becomes fully apparent once you know where Tenet is going, or perhaps that should be where it’s been. Still confused? Don’t be. Or rather do be, and savour it. This is a film that will cause many to throw up their hands in bamboozlement – and many more, I hope, to clasp theirs in awe and delight.

As did the Empire’s Alex Godfrey…

Once again seizing control of the medium, Nolan attempts to alter the fabric of reality, or at least blow the roof off the multiplexes. Big, bold, baffling and bonkers.

But The Wrap’s Nicholas Barber wasn’t as hot on it…

It’s exhilarating, in a ‘Fast & Furious’ sort of way, especially as so many of the stunts are done for real rather than with CGI. It helps, too, that the swaggering Washington and the smirking Pattinson make a likable double act. But it all happens so quickly, with such brief explanations and so little breathing space, that the story is tough to follow, and therefore tough to care about.

Same goes for Indiewire’s Mike McCahill…

What kind of picture is it? Big, certainly: IMAX-scaled, and a hefty 150 minutes even after a visibly ruthless edit. It’s clever, too — yes, the palindromic title has some narrative correlation — albeit in an exhausting, rather joyless way. As second comings go, Tenet is like witnessing a Sermon on the Mount preached by a savior who speaks exclusively in dour, drawn-out riddles. Any awe is flattened by follow-up questions.

So is Tenet worth the coronavirus/theater risk? Depends on who you believe.

Director Christopher Nolan Denies Anne Hathaway’s Claim That He Doesn’t Allow Chairs On Set

Twitter is the land of outrage. Sometimes the outrage is warranted, but most of the time, it’s just a bunch of people bored at work who are wanting to put their unused energy into something.

Earlier this week, Twitter got all mad at Christopher Nolan after Anne Hathaway made the claim that he doesn’t allow chairs on set.

Hathaway made the claim during a recent Actors on Actors interview…

Chris’ whole approach to filmmaking is one of my favorite ones. He’s broken it down to its most minimal, but also his movies are just so huge and ornate. That combination of really being intentional about what it was that we were doing — and also, he’s just so inspiring.

He doesn’t allow chairs, and his reasoning is, if you have chairs, people will sit, and if they’re sitting, they’re not working. I mean, he has these incredible movies in terms of scope and ambition and technical prowess and emotion. It always arrives at the end under schedule and under budget. I think he’s onto something with the chair thing.

So as you can see, she wasn’t even mad about it. She seemed to admire it, but Twitter decided to get mad for her. They put Nolan on blast and claimed he was creating an unfair and toxic work environment.

Well, Nolan’s rep decided to address the chair controversy and clear a few things up…

For the record, the only things banned from [Christopher Nolan’s] sets are cell phones (not always successfully) and smoking (very successfully). The chairs Anne was referring to are the directors chairs clustered around the video monitor, allocated on the basis of hierarchy not physical need. Chris chooses not to use his but has never banned chairs from the set. Cast and crew can sit wherever and whenever they need and frequently do.

There you have it. Outrage over.

‘Tenet’ Release Date Has Been Delayed Again, Find Out When It’ll Hit Theaters!

Movie theaters were counting on Christopher Nolan’s action-thriller ‘Tenet‘ to be the movie that got everyone back in the theater after COVID-19.

The original release date was scheduled for July 17, but then it was pushed back to July 31, and now it has been pushed back again.

The new release date is scheduled for August 12. Warner Bros. sent out the following statement, revealing they’re adopting a new release strategy:

Warner Bros. is committed to bringing ‘Tenet’ to audiences in theaters, on the big screen, when exhibitors are ready and public health officials say it’s time.

In this moment what we need to be is flexible, and we are not treating this as a traditional movie release. We are choosing to open the movie mid-week to allow audiences to discover the film in their own time, and we plan to play longer, over an extended play period far beyond the norm, to develop a very different yet successful release strategy.

And you know, that COULD work. If you have it playing in theaters for a longer amount of time, more people can see it safely over time. It could be a smart move.

But at the same time, cases are going up in nearly every state, especially in Arizona, Florida, Texas and California. Those are big markets, and if the cases continue to go up, theaters might have to delay their reopenings.

Texas has already reversed their decision to reopen bars. They are now ordering all bars to shutdown once again.

So yeah, the near future is unknown at this time, and it’s likely Tenet is delayed again.

Cinemark Plans To Reopen, Is Confident Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Film Will Be Released On July 17

While the nation’s biggest theater chain, AMC, is losing money and falling fast, Cinemark is seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

They have announced reopening plans and are confident they’ll be more than ready for the release of Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster film, Tenet, which is scheduled to be released July 17.

Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi was confident this week while speaking on a conference call

We’ve been in close contact with Warner Bros. and they remain optimistic and positive as well as Christopher Nolan about the July 17 opening. Of course, it depends on the continued positive movement due to the decline of COVID-19 and government restrictions being reduced.

But he added that obviously there are no guarantees. It’s entirely possible that Warner Bros. pushes the release date back. It’ll likely depend on how theaters look at the end of June/beginning of July.

The thriller ‘Unhinged’ starring Russell Crowe is scheduled to get a wide release on July 1. So if that goes well, it’s likely Warner Bros takes a chance with their July 17 opening.

But if no one shows up to watch Unhinged, you can bet yo’ a** that Warner Bros. will push back the release date for Tenet.

Watch The New Trailer For Christopher Nolan’s Upcoming Sci-Fi/Action Flick ‘Tenet’

Warner Bros. released the second ‘Tenet‘ trailer on Thursday, much to the delight of Christopher Nolan fans across the world.

Nolan’s latest film stars John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, and while details surrounding the plot have been few and far between, the studio did release this plot synopsis…

John David Washington is the new Protagonist in Christopher Nolan’s original sci-fi action spectacle ‘Tenet.’

Armed with only one word—Tenet—and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.

Not time travel. Inversion.

What the hell does that mean? No idea. And why are they calling Washington’s character “Protagonist”? Is that his actual name in the film? If so, does that mean the movie is a story inside a story?

I don’t know. They obviously wanted the synopsis to be vague, so I’m not going to attempt to make sense of it.

In any event, check out the new trailer below. And yes, the release date is still scheduled to hit theaters July 17, but that could change.

Australia Theaters Hope To Open In July With Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Being The Guiding Light

It’s still unclear when theaters here in the states will reopen. There are several states where theaters can open (at 25% capacity) but most theater chains have decided to remain closed.

Theaters in Australia are also still closed, but they have a plan to open in July. The goal is to open in time to release Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster film ‘Tenet‘ which is currently scheduled for a July 17 release date.

Theater operators say they are banking on Nolan’s Warner Bros. sci-fi tentpole Tenet to be the blockbuster leading them out of the coronavirus-shutdown doldrums. Cinemas across Australia have been shuttered since mid-March as part of the country’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

Nolan’s film Tenet is like a totem guiding the industry towards its reboot.

And while this is the plan, the National Association of Cinema Operators made it clear they would not force an early opening if the government informed them it would be unsafe to do so.

Industry players also are expecting that caps on seating capacity will be required to maintain social distancing guidelines, as well as other safety measures, including staggered screening times, contactless ticketing transactions, sanitization stations at entries and frequent cinema cleaning.

Check out the trailer for Tenet below…