The announcement of his departure from Warner for Universal Pictures Studios was like a bombshell. Some details of the deal have been unveiled, which give an idea of Christopher Nolan’s ambitions for his next film and say a lot about the current situation of major Hollywood studios.
Christopher Nolan> Messi
Those who follow football have not missed the arrival of Messi in Paris, a huge football star who has just left FC Barcelona for PSG after almost twenty years of very good and loyal service. For movie lovers, a comparable event took place with Christopher Nolan’s departure from Warner to join Universal Studios. Universal Pictures, by fulfilling the filmmaker’s demands for his next film on its own, has effectively hired a historic director from Warner, and it’s an earthquake. The Hollywood Reporter reported in an account the negotiating conditions and details of the deal.
A new chapter opens
We will surely never see a Christopher Nolan film released simultaneously in theaters and on a streaming platform and this is a fundamental point for the director. Embedded in a hybrid distribution between theaters and HBO Max, its mixed-success streaming service, Warner has been plowing conflicting ground since the episode. Tenet, reinforced by the same reproaches and disappointments brought by Denis Villeneuve concerning the simultaneous release of Dune.
It is therefore logical that Christopher Nolan finds himself among the one in the industry which among the major Hollywood studios and executives currently offers the strategically “weakest” streaming offer. Yet even if Netflix did not appear in the final negotiations, the red giant had well stretched out poles, and for those who were there, Apple made a strong case, Sony really wanted it, and Paramount did not take long. fire. It’s unclear exactly when Warner threw in the towel.
We can easily imagine the scene, 007 style, of the negotiations that took place on Nolan’s vast property in the Hollywood Hills. With his directorial status above $ 1 billion at the box office, the financial and image stakes are very high, and contenders have therefore been turned away until Universal simply answers “yes” to his demands.
Requests in the form of a leap of faith
While Christopher Nolan’s new film is heralded as being of a smaller caliber than its predecessors, its demands were mostly about the same as in Warner’s time, and they remain very high. We thus speak ofa production budget of $ 100 million, to which must be added 100 million for marketing. For artistic independence, it is non-negotiable since the director requires total creative control.
Where the deal becomes interesting is that Nolan, sure of his strength, asks the studios to make room for his film. Concretely, the company will not have to release another film during the three weeks preceding and the three weeks following the release of his. Finally, he would have asked cinema screening of at least 100 days, rumors even say from 110 to 130.
Christopher Nolan crystallizes cinema vs. streaming
Apple was amazed by her presence at the final table, but she was there with her swelling repertoire of collaborators such as Martin Scorsese with Killers of the Flower Moon, Scarlett Johansson, Leonardo DiCaprio, which weighed in his favor. Also ready to offer a theatrical release, but far from Nolan’s conditions, his offer was not enough. Paramount, which recently changed governance and now takes a pro-streaming strategy, was quickly eliminated. Sony, which can boast of a great success with Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, was considered to the end.
Universal won the decision by simply and positively responding to the director’s requests for Tenet. Another element to take into account, its president Donna Langley has had a friendly relationship with Christopher Nolan for several years, and has already taken some talents and franchises from Warner in the past. There is still a long way to go before he can discover his new film, and the cinematographic landscape is in the process of being restructured. But in any case, this passage of one of the greatest cinema authors of his generation from one big studio to another goes beyond his sole cinematographic future, he also draws a line between pro-theaters and pro-streaming, and it seems definitive that for the short and medium term Christopher Nolan and Universal have chosen their camp well.