In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many studios like Warner Bros started to quickly pivot their release strategies so major films like The Suicide Squad could premiere as day and date streaming releases on HBO Max. This studio’s actions in particular sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry, with one of the massive pieces of fallout being long time WB loyalist/Tenet director Christopher Nolan claiming that he’d be “unlikely” to work with the studio in the future. Now, that threat has officially been carried out, as Nolan’s next project has found a home at Universal.
Per reporting coming out of The Wrap, an unnamed source connected to the production has stated that Christopher Nolan’s untitled biopic on theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer will be financed and distributed by Universal Pictures. With a supposed eye on Cillian Murphy to play some sort of part in the production, Nolan is also reported to be going into production on this film in “first quarter 2022.” This decision marks the end to an almost 20 year partnership, which started when Warner Bros and Christopher Nolan teamed up for the 2002 remake of Insomnia.
The moment that Warner Bros decided to make its entire 2021 slate of theatrical releases available to HBO Max, under a timed 30 day window, Christopher Nolan was one of the first to speak up about the matter. Alongside directors like Wonder Woman 1984’s Patty Jenkins and Dune’s Denis Villeneuve, Nolan spoke his piece about what he labeled “the worst streaming service.” But while Villeneuve reversed his position on the matter of a streaming debut, in connection to the impending release of Dune, Christopher Nolan has remained steadfastly against the strategy.
An interesting footnote to this matter is the fact that Christopher Nolan, the anti-streaming premiere man that he is, would choose Universal as his next partner. The reason being, after pushing Halloween Kills a full year to preserve the theatrical experience, Universal has made the decision to premiere David Gordon Green’s follow-up to the 2018 legacyquel as a day and date hybrid on Peacock. Though, one can be certain that if this round of negotiations with the Dark Knight Trilogy helmer are indeed concluded, there’s a clause that prevents such treatment.
Streaming premieres have changed the landscape of Hollywood, and the shockwaves are still resonating. Even Warner Bros. is backing away from the day and date model, as they’ve signed a pact with AMC to ensure 45-day windows of theatrical exclusivity throughout 2022. But apparently, it was too little and too late to keep Christopher Nolan from trading in the shield for the globe. The die is cast, dear readers; and now we’ll see just where this new partnership is headed in the years to come.
At the moment, there’s no intended release date for Christopher Nolan’s untitled J. Robert Oppenheimer biopic. Coincidentally enough, if you haven’t seen Tenet just yet, the film is currently streaming on HBO Max. Check out the current subscription offer if you’re not already a subscriber, as that platform will give you access to this particular film, as well as future releases like The Matrix Resurrections.