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[Filmmaking] The PR War between Christopher Nolan and HBO Max

- Business vs. Love for Cinema

· Entertainment Law,Contract,Update,Hollywood,Film and Television

Christopher Nolan, the phenomenal film director, producer, and screenwriter, maker of Inception (2010), The Dark Knight (2008), Interstellar (2014), Dunkirk (2017) and, most recently, Tenet (2020), just publicly called the new on-demand streaming services launched by HBO, HBO Max, “the worst streaming service”. Ouch.

Here’s a summary of the story.

After Netflix won more Oscar® awards than any other traditional film studios, the rapid evolution of streaming services has led to the television giant, HBO, launching its own streaming service, HBO Max.

In my opinion, HBO Max is great and very competitive in the marketplace for owning exclusive high-quality content, despite that Disney® also launched its new streaming service, Disney Plus, at the same time, which so far has gained more attention than ever because of its mass-produced Star Wars® series. We all love baby Yoda.

The pandemic has devastated movie theaters and the film industry as a whole. As a result, Warner Brothers made a new deal with HBO Max to release 17 upcoming major films on HBO Max on the same day they are released in theaters. This includes Dune, The Matrix 4, The Suicide Squad. Very groundbreaking deal.

Christopher Nolan, among many other filmmakers, felt great insult and danger to the traditional film industry, publicly calling HBO Max the “worst streaming service.” Oh well, looks like Nolan might move to Universal for his future films.

On one hand, the pandemic has changed the way of our day-to-day lives, and some people might want to have immediate access to a newly released film at home. But it is undeniable that this new business model takes away the pure joy and excitement of seeing a film in a theater. It also takes away the visual and audio effects that are typically very tastefully done for a major film when playing in theater. Producers and directors would lose control over the displaying quality of the film on premiere night. What a disaster.

Overall, I vote for keeping the tradition and preserving the key element in works of art over a more profitable business model in this arena. It is simply too much detriment for a true high-quality film to be released on TV as it premieres. The film Tenet has never been available in NYC theaters and I have no complaints. The love for cinema, if you find it, advocate for it. That’s what Nolan did – hell with the PR.

Sincerely yours,

Silvia Sun, Esq.

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