When Christopher Nolan speaks, it makes sense that the film industry should listen.
Long before reshaping Batman’s cinematic legacy, Christopher Nolan was pioneering somber storytelling methods with twisty narratives like Memento and moody police procedurals like Insomnia. In between Batman movies, Nolan pushes the technological envelope in vast epics like Inception. And he even explores the power and presentation of IMAX in his last two Batman films, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
Nolan is expected to be at the forefront of the theatrical-presentation conversation when his sci-fi drama Interstellar reaches multiplexes in November. Ahead of that curve, the filmmaker took to the Wall Street Journal for a fascinating, sobering conversation about the state of modern cinema and the direction of the major studios. There’s so much to chew on regarding what Christopher Nolan had to say about this industry, and this storytelling method, that we adore. Let’s break down a few of his key points.
Movies Screenings Will Work Like Television in the Near FutureChristopher Nolan begins by talking about an industry change that is near and dear to his heart, the transition from actual film to digital projection. He mentions how it’s meant to cut down on costs. And it will. But he also determines that it reduces films to "Content," akin to footage that can be easily shared and streamed on "phones, watches, gas-station pumps or any other screen." You can hear the disdain in Nolan’s text as he imagines an audience member watching Bane (Tom Hardy) hijack an airplane on their watch. But Nolan also says that this innovation will reduce movie theaters to "just another of these ‘platforms,’ albeit with bigger screens and cupholders."
Looking even further ahead, Nolan connects the future of theater presentations to television, where audiences can dictate what screens next, or change channels. He states:
The distributor or theater owner (depending on the vital question of who controls the remote) would be able to change the content being played, instantly. A movie's Friday matinees would determine whether it even gets an evening screening, or whether the projector switches back to last week's blockbuster. This process could even be automated based on ticket sales in the interests of ‘fairness.’"
In other words, open big, or GTFO. Which speaks to Christopher Nolan’s next major point.