Christopher Nolan‘s new movie Dunkirk opens tonight in a theatre near you, which is exactly how the director likes it, thank you very much. Nolan has crushed it with large format exhibitions of his films from The Dark Knight to Inception to Interstellar, and with the help of a few others in Hollywood, Nolan is trying to keep actual film, as a medium, alive and kicking. So when you sit down and ask Nolan about the possibility of working with a streaming site like Netflix in the future, like David Ayer and Martin Scorsese already have, you can probably imagine what he had to say.
“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,” Nolan told Indiewire in a new interview. “So they’re not even getting in the game, and I think they’re missing a huge opportunity.”
Specifically, Nolan is pointing out the difference in how Netflix operates versus its prime (pun intended) competitor Amazon. The latter allows for a 90-day exclusive run in theatres for it’s films, such as Cafe Society and The Lost City of Z, and then starts streaming them to its members after that first three months. Netflix, meanwhile, allows for a limited theatrical run starting the same day a title appears on the site, like the recently released War Machine and Okja. In Nolan’s mind, film is still about the theatrical experience, so given the Netflix model, it’s probably pretty unlikely that you will ever see the filmmaker’s name pop-up with an original flick on the streaming site.
“No. Well, why would you? If you make a theatrical film, it’s to be played in theatres,” Nolan said. “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 theatres. It’s so pointless. I don’t really get it.”
Dunkirk is in theatres now.