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Christopher Nolan Takes New WWII Film To Universal After Nearly 20 Years With Warner Bros. — Here’s Why It Matters

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at September 14, 2021


Director and producer Christopher Nolan will be working with Universal Pictures for his  new World War II movie about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the development of the nuclear bomb, according to multiple news outlets, stepping back from Warner Bros. Studios for the first time after working with the studio exclusively for 19 years.

Key Facts

Nolan’s new movie will have a $100 million budget and begin filming in the first quarter of 2022, according to Variety.

Last week, Deadline reported that several major studios had received copies of the screenplay and were speaking with Nolan and his representatives.

Nolan’s relationship with Warner Bros. has been strained  by the studio’s decision to release its 2021 movies on streaming and in theaters at the same time, which Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter “dismantled” a “​​machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere” and made “no economic sense.” 

In January, sources told The Wall Street Journal that Nolan was “unlikely to return to the studio with his next project” because he was disappointed with the studio’s hybrid release strategy. 

Forbes has reached out to Nolan’s representatives and Warner Bros. for comment.

Key Background

Nolan has worked with Warner Bros. since his 2002 film Insomnia, directing a trio of high-grossing Batman movies,as well as , Inception, Dunkirk and Interstellar. When the coronavirus pandemic began, studios had to figure out how to adjust to the widespread closure of movie theaters and fears of contracting the virus that depressed ticket sales when they were open. Warner Bros. was the first big studio to say it would release its 2021 movies both on streaming and in movie theaters, which met with pushback from Nolan and other directors and actors. Director Patty Jenkins said at a recent CinemaCon 2021 panel that the decision to release her movie Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max and in theaters at the same time was a “heartbreaking experience and hugely detrimental to the movie” because her film was made with movie theater screens and surround sound in mind. The decision to premiere Black Widow on streaming service Disney Plus also led to a lawsuit from its star Scarlett Johansson, who said the move breached her contract for a wide theatrical release.

What We Dont Know

If Nolan will return to work with Warner Bros. in the future. When asked about the Nolan situation in June, Warner Bros. Group Chairman Toby Emmerich told the L.A. Times, “Only Chris Nolan knows what his next movie’s going to be, but we do hope it will be at Warner Bros.”

Further Reading

Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney For Releasing ‘Black Widow’ On Streaming Service (Forbes)

Wide Shot: Inside Warner Bros.’s risky streaming movie strategy (L.A. Times)


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