M. Night Shyamalan Helped Convince Christopher Nolan About Universal as His Next Studio

Last fall, Christopher Nolan left Warner Bros. after making films with them since 2002 and inked a deal with Universal Pictures for his next film, Oppenheimer. Now, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan reveals that he helped convince Nolan to make the move to Universal. Shyamalan told The Hollywood Reporter that he told Nolan how he feels about Universal's "commitment to original storytelling and the movie theaters", explaining that Universal has "doubled down" on original storytelling in theaters as their identity.

"I conveyed how much I feel about Universal's commitment to original storytelling and the movie theaters," Shyamalan said. "And in an age where everybody is trying to sell the narrative that original movies and movie theaters are dying out, I don't believe that at all! Not even a little bit. And Universal has doubled down—and continues to double down—that it's their identity. So, I'm hoping Jordan [Peele], Chris, myself and anybody else that will come over, or at other studios, can prove that everyone wants to see fresh, original ideas in a movie theater."

It's the movie theater aspect of things that may have been critical for Nolan. When WarnerMedia announced in 2020 that their entire 2021 slate of theatrical releases would debut day-and-date on HBO Max along with the traditional movie theater premiere, Nolan was critical of the decision from the beginning.

"Some of our industry's biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were we worst streaming service," Nolan wrote in a statement at the time. He also called the ethics of the studio into question when talking to The Washington Post.

"They did not speak to those filmmakers," he said. "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's next film, Oppenheimer, will be his first after leaving Warner Bros. for Universal. The film will star Emily Blunt, Josh Hartnett, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr., Rami Malek, Benny Safdie, and Cillian Murphy. It's been reported that Nolan's deal with Universal gives him total creative control of the film, a $100 million budget with an equal amount to be spent on marketing, 20 percent of the first-dollar gross, a guaranteed theatrical window of 100 days, and reportedly a blackout period where the studio will not release any other movies in the three weeks preceding and following Oppenheimer's release. The film currently has a release date of July 21, 2023.

What do you think about Shyamalan helping convince Nolan to choose Universal as his next studio? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.