Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan calls Netflix's film strategy "pointless" and declares that he will never work with them while speaking out against the streaming giant in a new interview. Nolan makes his movies for the big screen, whether it's a 70mm print of his latest movie Dunkirk or his Dark Knight trilogy. Nolan is trying to give the viewer an immersive experience in the theater. Dunkirk is 106 minutes of intensity tailor-made for the IMAX screen, to get the full effect of being in the middle of war, on the ground, in the sea, or in the air, aided by sound design since there's not a whole lot of dialogue.
The director sat down with IndieWire to promote his upcoming Dunkirk and the conversation ended up on Netflix and their model of not releasing their original movies in traditional theaters. Christopher Nolan explained his irritation with the streaming juggernaut. He explains.
"Netflix has a bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films. They have this mindless policy of everything having to be simultaneously streamed and released, which is obviously an untenable model for theatrical presentation. So they're not even getting in the game, and I think that they're missing a huge opportunity."
Netflix has recently gotten serious with the release of their original content and they have roped in some pretty large projects, like the upcoming American adaptation of Death Note, which as been compared to Christopher Nolan's own movies. And then shelled out quite a lot of cash for Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, which stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. But none of these projects have been given a traditional theatrical release yet.
Nolan went on to point out that Amazon is a streaming service that is going about things the right way. Amazon releases their movies in theaters exclusively for 90 days and then adds them to their streaming services. The model worked out tremendously for last year's Manchester by the Sea, which ended doing well at the box office and even took home 2 Academy Awards. Netflix has reportedly said that subscribers would be "unhappy" if their movies were to hit theaters before they were available on the streaming platform. Maybe they should take some notes from the Amazon model. Christopher Nolan went on to air his dissatisfaction with Netflix by even insinuating that the company is trying to shut down theaters. He explains.
"I think the investment that Netflix is putting into interesting filmmakers and interesting projects would be more admirable if it weren't being used as some kind of weird leverage against shutting down theaters. It's so pointless. I don't really get it."
Nolan does have a point, but at the very least Netflix is trying to get some interesting projects off of the ground and into the public's eyes. Stranger Things, though a television series, was reportedly passed on by just about every major player in the business today until Netflix financed it.
Netflix may be slightly changing their tune as the upcoming Martin Scorsese movie The Irishman will see a small theatrical run in order to be considered for the Academy Awards. But, even with Amazon's model, most people will more than likely stream the upcoming movie on their laptop or tablet. A lot can be said about what the streaming model is doing to Hollywood, but it is catering to something that public definitely wants, which is convenience and the power of having it right NOW.