On Dec. 3, Warner Bros. Pictures announced a hybrid-release model for its slate of 2021 films. With the future of cinemas up in the airs because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Warner Bros. movies will release on HBO Max the same day they come out in theaters. Titles including The Matrix 4, Dune, In the Heights, and Tom & Jerry fall under this new deal.
It was an unprecedented move that shocked many in the film industry. Director Christopher Nolan, who has worked closely with Warner Bros. for nearly 20 years, spoke out against the company's decision.
“Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service,” said Nolan in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter on Monday, Dec. 7. “Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theaters and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak. They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Their decision makes no economic sense, and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.”
While Nolan is the most outspoken critic, sources tell the Hollywood Reporter that other directors and actors with films under Warner Media are not pleased with this decision.