While Hollywood and the world worked to cope with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic last year one of the most vocal supporters of getting theaters back open and experiencing blockbusters on the biggest screen possible has returned to home, so to speak. Movie theaters were officially cleared to open in Los Angeles this week after being closed for the better part of a year, and Tenet director Christopher Nolan was one of the first to buy a ticket. This news comes by way of NBC News (H/T IndieWire) who have video of Nolan in line getting some snacks and chatting with fellow movie goers. According to reports Nolan was there to watch the new film Judas and the Black Messiah, which had just been nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture.
Nolan has been a champion of theatrical exhibition for the entirety of the pandemic, even going so far as to note that studios quickly moving to a new model that removes that element of a film's release entirely are looking at things the wrong way. Speaking with the Los Angeles Times back in November, Nolan said: "If you're talking about the acceleration of existing trends, that's something I started reading right at the beginning of the pandemic and it ignores the reality that 2019 was the biggest year for theatrical films in history. They'd made the most money. The admissions were huge. So, to me, it's much more about: What's the new reality we're living in?"
Nolan added, "Warner Bros. released Tenet, and I'm thrilled that it has made almost $350 million. But I am worried that the studios are drawing the wrong conclusions from our release — that rather than looking at where the film has worked well and how that can provide them with much needed revenue, they're looking at where it hasn't lived up to pre-COVID expectations and will start using that as an excuse to make exhibition take all the losses from the pandemic instead of getting in the game and adapting — or rebuilding our business, in other words. Long term, moviegoing is a part of life, like restaurants and everything else. But right now, everybody has to adapt to a new reality."
The director Dunkirk and The Dark Knight was also heavily critical of Warner Bros. Pictures' decision to put their entire 2021 feature film slate in theaters and on HBO Max day and date for the entire year.
"It's about what the French call droit moral," Nolan said while speaking with The Washington Post. "Do they own it absolutely, because they paid for it or they financed it? And that is not a purely legalistic question; it's a question of ethics as well. It's a question of partnership and collaboration. They did not speak to those filmmakers. They did not consult them about what their plans were for their work. And I felt that somebody needed to point out that that wasn't the right way to treat those filmmakers."
Nolan continued to slam the studio in the weeks following, drawing reports that he may no longer work with them moving forward.
In the end though, for Nolan, it's all about seeing movies the way they were meant to be seen and that includes movies from Warner Bros. Pictures like Judas and the Black Messiah.
(Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)