Christopher Nolan has apologized to Netflix for his previous criticisms of the company. Well, kind of.
Nolan is referring to earlier comments he made during an interview with Indiewire at the Cannes Film Festival regarding Netflix’s “bizarre aversion” to supporting theaters and the film industry. In a conversation about watching something in a theater versus streaming a movie or series on TV, Nolan told Variety his answer was undiplomatic, and sent Netflix’s chief of content, Ted Sarandos, an apology email following the ordeal.
Nolan explained that while he stands by his stance on the company and its business plan regarding the simultaneous release of films in theater and on the streaming platform, he admitted he could have been more diplomatic.
“I wasn’t giving any context to the frankly revolutionary nature of what Netflix has done,” Nolan said. “It’s extraordinary. They need appropriate respect for that, which I have.”
Nolan compared his ideal film industry to where book publishers are currently. Book publishers traditionally release a more-expensive hardcover version of a title before releasing the book in paperback months later. This allows the publishers to maximize revenue before offering multiple iterations of the book to consumers.
“Every other industry, whether it’s the car industry or whatever, controls when a product is launched,” Nolan said. “The idea that the film business should forget that and just throw everything together at the same time makes no sense.
“It’s not good business, and people will realize that eventually.”
Nolan’s comments caught ire from those at Netflix, including CEO Reed Hastings, who spoke about the issue with Peter Kafka during Recode’s CodeCon.
“Sometimes the establishment is clumsy when it tries to shut out the insurgent, and then the insurgent’s role is to play that up, which we did,” Hastings said.
Nolan has said before he believes in the business model Amazon is working under for its original films. Unlike Netflix, Amazon releases its movies theatrically for 90 days, like last year’s Manchester by the Sea, before bringing it to Amazon Prime subscribers.
Nolan did not note in the piece whether he was willing to work with Netflix in the future, something he claimed he would never do at the time of his original comments.