Netflix Is Doing Its Best to Woo Christopher Nolan
Art and Experience:
Nolan’s relationship with Warner Bros. is strained, and Netflix wants to be the shoulder he cries on.
When parent company AT&T told Warner Bros. that they had to put movies onto the HBO Max platform, they brought down the ire of filmmakers who were promised to have theatrical releases for their films. While contracts were renegotiated and money was exchanged, filmmakers wondered—if they continued to make movies with Warner, would their features have a shot to make it to the big screen?
One of the most prominent directors with these worries is Christopher Nolan. He has voiced displeasure with the new model. Could that affect his long partnership with Warner Bros.?
Scott Stuber at Netflix hopes so. He is actually trying to get the filmmaker to join the ranks of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Aaron Sorkin, Ava DuVernay, Spike Lee, Zack Snyder, Noah Baumbach, Alfonso Cuaron, and other filmmakers who have turned to Netflix to make the movies they want.
In a profile piece with Variety, Stuber said, “If and when he comes up with his new movie, it’s about can we be a home for it and what would we need to do to make that happen. He’s an incredible filmmaker. I’m going to do everything I can. In this business, I’ve learned you need to have zero ego. I get punched and knocked down and get back up.”
Time will tell if Netflix can get their man, but it’s interesting to see them not being shy about wanting to grab the biggest names possible. Of course, we know Nolan values the theatrical outlook, but Netflix made Scorsese’s The Irishman and ensured that it played in theaters for a bit before it debuted on demand. Could they offer Nolan the same sort of guaranteed deal?
One wild card here is that many studios have already undergone their own Netflix-like rebrand, with streaming services starting to showcase their titles and the TV they make as well. If every studio is just putting things online as well as in theaters, does that make a difference where someone makes something anymore? Especially when relationships, budget, and sometimes the final cut is at stake?