Christopher Nolan came out firing on Monday evening against Warner Bros’ decision to release all of its theatrical films scheduled for 2021 on HBO Max on the same day they’re slated to hit theaters. But given the current situation in the United States — the COVID-19 pandemic is currently at its peak here, and could continue to get worse before the vaccine is available — a lot of folks aren’t too concerned about the sanctity of the theatrical moviegoing experience right now.
“In 2021, they’ve got some of the top filmmakers in the world, they’ve got some of the biggest stars in the world who worked for years in some cases on these projects very close to their hearts that are meant to be big-screen experiences,” Nolan said in a statement railing against the move by Warner BRos and HBO Max.
Considering how the COVID-19 pandemic is going, however, a lot of folks just weren’t buying this whole battle.
According to the New York Times’ COVID-19 database, we’re currently experiencing the worst period of the pandemic so far, with an average of nearly 200,000 new cases reported each day over the past seven days, and an average of more than 2,000 deaths each day over that same span. More than 280,000 Americans have died due to COVID-19 since March.
Vaccines are on the way, but there certainly won’t be enough doses for everyone for a while, and even then it’s not clear how comfortable people will be hanging out in crowded environments after nearly a year of shutdowns.
Here’s a look at some of the discourse thus far, which include more than a few jabs at Nolan’s expense over underwhelming theatrical release for his film “Tenet” in September.
Didn’t Nolan practically force WB to release TENET mid-COVID so that he could have his theatrical release that only proved that people aren’t comfortable going to theaters?
This guy is something else. https://t.co/pS5e9CaPuG
— Walt (@UberKryptonian) December 8, 2020
Christopher Nolan: "I'd rather you literally die than watch my movie on a TV." https://t.co/vDjwzGPNYg
— Joshua Topolsky (@joshuatopolsky) December 8, 2020
Christopher Nolan is one of the greatest auteurs in cinema history and his films are spectacular set pieces……but he's in for the same rude awakening as everyone else that thinks theaters are going back to old normal after a vaccine. He won't survive if he doesn't adapt. pic.twitter.com/9Pe6HyzDw4
— TheFliteCast AKA "Testerical Manlet with a Mob" (@TheFliteCast) December 8, 2020
Without wading into the larger particulars of the Warner Bros. issue, Nolan is hilariously wrong about HBO Max, which has by far the best movie library of any streamer, and (not that he cares) either the best or second-best (after Hulu) TV library of any streamer. https://t.co/x61cfqo3vc
— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) December 8, 2020
I get that WBs approach to their HBO Max announcement (in regards to filmmakers) was shitty, but Nolan’s lack of awareness about his own role in making life harder for theaters by refusing any sort of compromise needs to be called out. Not to mention we’re STILL in a pandemic.
— Jordan Maison (@JordanMaison) December 8, 2020
TENET was a test case at releasing a blockbuster in a pandemic. Christopher Nolan encouraged it. It failed. Warner Bros. are now evolving with the times. Sure, they should have discussed this with their filmmakers before the announcement, but it wouldn't have changed their plans.
— Doug Jamieson (@itsdougjam) December 8, 2020
Christopher Nolan would probably understand WB's motivation more clearly if their wife or girlfriend had died.
— Alex Zalben (@azalben) December 8, 2020
But now, I’ll just say #WB tried it Nolan’s way, it was a colossal disaster.
Also, I wonder if Nolan sees how hard he’s getting trolled for caring more about “art” than safety…? pic.twitter.com/hy9GcQSyym
— Grace Randolph (@GraceRandolph) December 8, 2020
Theaters wouldn't be in as much trouble if people like Nolan hadn't tried to rush films back into theaters. Theaters would be in a much better state if we had kept them closed, and as a cinephile, I hate the idea that to keep theaters open people need to risk their lives. https://t.co/BTYUHBE1aK
— AdequateEmily (@AdequateEmily) December 8, 2020
Christopher Nolan only listens to his voicemails through IMAX speakers.
— Minovsky (@MinovskyArticle) December 8, 2020
lol i like watching a movie in theaters as much as the next dweeb but it's funny that nolan threw a huge tantrum to get his movie in theaters during a global pandemic and it went so poorly that his distributor swore off theaters for a year https://t.co/F4hNkCiHIM
— aLec robBins (@alecrobbins) December 8, 2020
good job making the discourse about how annoying Christopher Nolan is and not Warner Bros’ flushing a year’s worth of movies to compensate for HBO Max’s hilariously botched launch, well done everyone
— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) December 8, 2020
There are, of course, many other arguments to be had about Warner Bros’ big move — like whether it was premature to send the entirety of the 2021 slate to HBO Max on their release dates, or whether this move will have a long-term detrimental effect on the theatrical business.
But those are discussions for a different day, apparently. For now, with so many people still dying from the pandemic, and movie theaters still being closed in most places, it seems the prevailing sentiment at this moment