The landscape of how we digest movies and TV series has been changing for several years now, with services like Netflix making it so that the latest films are accessible essentially anywhere. The problem with that is that it cuts out the movie theater, something Christopher Nolan can't stand by. The famous director is one of the best there's ever been, but even the creative freedom allowed by Netflix isn't tantalizing enough for him. Nolan says he'll never make a movie for Netflix because of the streaming service's "pointless" model of releasing their movies to theaters and online at the same time.
Netflix has a bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films. They have this mindless policy of everything having to be simultaneously streamed and released, which is obviously an untenable model for theatrical presentation. So they're not even getting in the game, and I think they're missing a huge opportunity.
For the last few years, Netflix has been producing their own films, which usually air exclusively on their streaming platform. These films have been attracting plenty of big name talent both in front of and behind the camera, and Netflix even had two films, Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), premiere at Cannes. While Netflix does release some of these in select theaters, it isn't in any serious capacity, which is not something that Christopher Nolan agrees with.
The director of the Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, and the recently released Dunkirk doesn't believe that Netflix's strategy of releasing their films makes any sense. Christopher Nolan makes sure that each one of his films is 100% most effective playing on the biggest screen possible. Dunkirk, for example, filmed in 70mm and is supposed to be absolutely stunning on IMAX. Netflix, he argues, is essentially robbing us all of that experience with their own films. And if you're wondering if having more creative control is a worthwhile exchange for Nolan, then you'd be wrong. In an interview, Nolan told Indiewire he couldn't care less about that.
I think the investment that Netflix is putting into interesting filmmakers and interesting projects would be more admirable if it weren't being used as some kind of bizarre leverage against shutting down theaters. It's so pointless. I don't really get it.
And he's absolutely right. Movies are meant to be watched on the movie screen with sound blasting all around you and Netflix's refusal to partake in that doesn't make a lot of sense -- especially considering Amazon's successful strategy. As Nolan points out, Amazon releases their films to theaters and then puts them up for streaming after 90 days. Seeing as how Manchester by the Sea was nominated for Academy Awards and was pretty successful at the box office for its genre, there isn't any reason Netflix can't do the same.
Did you hear that, Amazon? Snatch up that Nolan while the iron is hot!
You can see Christopher Nolan's latest film, Dunkirk, in theaters and not on Netflix right now.