Filmmaker Christopher Nolan says Warner Bros’ decision to release all of their 2021 films on HBO Max is “a great danger” for people working in the movie industry.
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“The economics of it are unsound unless you’re purely looking at movements in share price, number of eyeballs on the new streaming service,” Nolan told NPR, Friday. “Theatrical is really only one part of what we’re talking about here. You’re talking about your home video window, your secondary, tertiary windows. These are things very important to the economics of the business and to the people who work in the business.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced that its entire slate of films scheduled to release in 2021 will be released on HBO Max, including Denis Villeneuve’s highly anticipated film, Dune.
Nolan’s comments expand on his statement, earlier this week, when he referred to HBO Max as “the worst streaming service.”
“I’m talking about when I come on the set and I’ve got to shoot a scene with a waiter or a lawyer who has two or three lines,” Nolan explained. “They need to be earning a living in that profession, working maybe sometimes a couple of days a year. And that’s why the residuals structure is in place.”
He continued: “That’s why the unions have secured participations for people down the line. So when a movie is sold to a television station 20 years after it was made, a payment is made to the people who collaborated on that on that film. And these are important principles that when a company starts devaluing the individual assets by using them as leverage for a different business strategy without first figuring out how those new structures are going to have to work, it’s a sign of great danger for the ordinary people who work in this industry.”