Last year when WarnerMedia announced that their entire 2021 slate of theatrical releases would debut day-and-date on HBO Max along with the traditional premiere the news wasn’t well received by some in Hollywood. Chief among those that had a problem with the announcement was filmmaker Christopher Nolan, who has made his last nine movies with the studio, a relationship that goes back almost twenty years. After Nolan’s criticisms of WB’s decision continued for many weeks it resulted in reports that he may no longer work with them moving forward, and even the head of the studio doesn’t know if that’s going to happen.
Speaking in an interview with The LA Times, Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich was asked where things currently stood between the studio and the Oscar nominee with Emmerich replying: “Only Chris Nolan knows what his next movie’s going to be, but we do hope it will be at Warner Bros.” In another write-up from The LA Times, Emmerich addressed the lasting feelings from other talent that felt betrayed or burned by the sudden announcement, adding: “The initial reaction of the town, we get it. But I think we’re in a better place now. Hopefully we’ve restored trust.”
The LA Times also spoke with Bryan Lourd of Creative Artists Agency, who was asked if he believed WB had “made progress repairing” any of its damaged relationships, bluntly telling them: “No, I don’t.”
Nolan was critical of WB’s day-and-date theatrical/streaming decision from the beginning, writing in a statement: “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.”
The director Dunkirk and The Dark Knight, whose work has brought in billions for Warner Bros. and resulted in multiple Oscar nominations, called the ethics of the studio in to question after it occurred, telling The Washington Post: “They did not speak to those filmmakers. They did not consult them about what their plans were for their work. And I felt that somebody needed to point out that that wasn’t the right way to treat those filmmakers.”
In the end, Nolan only makes a new film every two to three years these days, the later for recent releases, so it’s possible we may not even hear about what his next project will be, or what studio he’ll pitch it to, for another year or more.