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Christopher Nolan publicly balks at Warner Bros.’ on-demand streaming plans

Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk. (Photo: Warner Bros.)

Warner Bros. gave its presentation at the annual CinemaCon today, with Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan on hand to debut new footage from his upcoming World War II epic. But Nolan wasn’t totally in line with the studio’s current message for the theater owners it was trying to woo. Shortly after distribution executive—and Dark Knight trilogy champion—Sue Kroll attempted to breach the unpopular idea of shortening the window between film’s theatrical releases, and their arrival on on-demand streaming services Nolan fired back, saying, “The only platform I’m interested in talking about is theatrical exhibition.”

The streaming window—normally 90 days—has become an increasingly contentious issue between theater owners and studios. (Netflix, which wants the window eliminated entirely, is currently in an ongoing battle to get its movies shown at all.) It’s a pretty basic conflict of interests: Studios want their streaming libraries bulked up, while theaters are well aware that exclusivity is one of their key weapons in the rapidly expanding media marketplace.


Nolan, of course, has specialized recently in big movies, filling his resume with visual spectaculars like Inception and Interstellar. It’s no surprise, then, that he’d support keeping the window wide in order to give audiences more chances to see them in his preferred format, even if his movies—the kind that almost demand IMAX screens or the full theater experience in order to fully enjoy—are actually the perfect argument for why the theater would still reign supreme in a world where streaming windows were tighter than they currently are.

[via Variety]

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