NEW YORK – After a public fallout about the Warner Bros. release strategy, Christopher Nolan’s next film about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the development of the atomic bomb will be released by Universal Pictures.
Representatives of the studio confirmed on Tuesday that Universal had acquired the rights to finance and distribute Nolan’s untitled film. Deadline Hollywood announced the deal first.
Nolan also wrote the script for the film about the theoretical physicist. Production is scheduled to start early next year.
With just a handful of exceptions, Warner Bros. had long been home to Nolan, “Insomnia” since 2002. With the studio he shot the trilogy “The Dark Knight”, the best-picture nominee “Dunkirk”, the ghost breaker “Inception” from 2010 and the time-traveling “Tenet” from 2020. (Warner Bros. was responsible for the international distribution of “ The Prestige “from 2006 and” Interstellar “from 2014.)
Last year Warner Bros. released Tenet in theaters in September, at a time when much of the film industry was shy about making big-budget films. The science fiction thriller ultimately grossed $ 363.7 million, making it by far the biggest Hollywood pandemic of the year.
But when Warner Bros. announced plans in December to release all of its 2021 films simultaneously on HBO Max, Nolan – a long-time ardent proponent of the theatrical experience – was one of the studio’s fiercest critics. In a statement, he said: “Some of the greatest filmmakers and major movie stars in our industry went to bed the night before they thought they were working for the biggest film studio and woke up to find they were working for the worst streaming service. ”
“Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for doing the job of a filmmaker anywhere, both in theaters and at home, and they are dismantling it,” Nolan wrote. “They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Your decision makes no business sense, and even the casual Wall Street investor can tell the difference between disruption and dysfunction. “
Shortly thereafter, he called the studio’s plans “a mess” in an interview with The Associated Press.
“It’s a one-sided decision that the studio made. They didn’t even tell the people involved, ”said Nolan. “You have these great filmmakers who have worked passionately and diligently for years on projects that are to become feature films with fantastic movie stars. And now they have all been told that they are a loss leader for a fledgling streaming service. “
Warner Bros. executives have claimed the studio will once again release films exclusively in theaters next year.
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