Warner Bros.’ announcement last week that it would be releasing all of its 2021 movies in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time seemed pretty exciting to people in the general public—finally, a chance to see new movies in the middle of a global pandemic without either catching/spreading the virus or getting judged by strangers for potentially catching/spreading the virus—but it’s becoming more and more clear that some people in the movie industry are not quite so enthusiastic about the shocking shake-up to traditional theatrical rollouts.
Legendary Entertainment, the studio behind Warner’s Dune and Godzilla Vs. Kong, is reportedly going to try and fight the company on this HBO Max distribution scheme (which it apparently only heard about 30 minutes before the rest of us). Now, Christopher Nolan—surprising absolutely no one—has come out against not just the HBO Max plan but HBO Max itself. First, he offered a disappointed-yet-diplomatic take to ET, saying his first reaction to the news was “disbelief,” at least partially because Warner didn’t tell anyone that it was doing this beforehand. He says everyone who made these movies is now “being used as a loss-leader for the streaming service” without being consulted, so it’s all “very, very, very, very messy.” He suggests that it might not be a huge deal in the long-run, though, as he’s “very bullish” on the theater industry’s ability to eventually bounce back. “People love going to the movies and they’re going to get to go again,” he notes.
Since then, though, Nolan has released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that is a bit spicier. In it, he says that “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,” but then “woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.” He says that Warner Bros. is “dismantling” an “incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere” and “they don’t even understand what they’re losing,” adding that it “makes no economic sense.”
Now, rather than try to argue Nolan’s point (Warner Bros. is still releasing these movies in theaters, you just no longer have to go to a theater to see them!), we’d rather address the fact that he seems to think HBO Max is “the worst streaming service.” That is absolutely not true, no matter how you feel about HBO Max or this Warner Bros. scheme. We don’t want to call out any other apps specifically, but has Nolan not used any other streaming services? HBO Max does its job and it does it fine, but there are some out there that can’t even handle streaming a single thing without crashing, or they’ll repeat the same terrible ads over and over again, or they’ll load the ads in the blink of an eye but than stall out when they try to load the thing you actually want to watch.
Is it possible Nolan’s not a Friends fan? Or maybe he’s a huge Friends fan and is mad that he has to subscribe to another service to watch it? Chris, man, you’ve made Warner Bros. so much money, they’ll probably give you a subscription for free! Just ask!