Could Christopher Nolan make a movie for a streaming service? As one of the biggest remaining proponents of the theatrical experience, it feels almost sacrilegious to suggest that he would be willing to make a film for a company like Netflix. But if the streamer gets its way, that is exactly what’s going to happen.
Nolan, whose relationship with Warner Bros. has become fraught in the wake of the company’s decision to release every movie on its 2021 theatrical calendar simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, has not yet announced what his next movie will be yet. But when he does, Netflix’s Scott Stuber will be there to try to lure the filmmaker into the streaming world.
Netflix movie chief Scott Stuber recently signed a deal with Steven Spielberg’s production company to produce streaming content for Netflix, and now he’s going after one of the other biggest names in the industry. In a new profile of Stuber in Variety, the outlet reveals he has had “ongoing conversations” with Christopher Nolan, the acclaimed director behind films like Inception, The Dark Knight, and Interstellar, about making movies at Netflix.
“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,” Stuber said. “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.”
Would Nolan Really Make the Jump to Netflix?
When Nolan found out about WB’s decision to debut their films day-and-date on HBO Max this year, 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,” he said. A few days later, a report from The Wall Street Journal indicated that Nolan was unlikely to return to Warner Bros. for his next movie.
COVID-19 has shaken the foundations of the film industry in significant and possibly permanent ways. New safety protocols now require higher budgets and more care on sets, and there is rampant speculation about how COVID might impact the viability of the traditional theatrical model that Nolan values so much. So where will he go? Assuming Nolan demands a full 45 days of theatrical exclusivity (which is the new normal), there are vanishingly few options left to him. Despite courting some of the biggest names in Hollywood over the past few years, including big theatrical proponent Martin Scorsese, it’s unclear even if Stuber and Netflix would be willing to grant Nolan that amount of exclusivity in theaters before releasing his film to subscribers on the streaming service. But Netflix is not afraid to spend billions to get what it wants, and with the entire landscape shaken so dramatically, this may be the perfect confluence of events that allows Netflix to snag Nolan out of the Hollywood free agency.
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