One of the biggest shockwaves to reverberate in the aftermath of Warner Bros. sending every 2021 movie to HBO Max the same day it hit theaters was Christopher Nolan walking away from the studio he’d called home for over 20 years.
As one of the most popular, recognizable, consistently acclaimed, and commercially successful directors of the modern era, it was a huge blow for WB to lose the man who’d fully earned and completely justified his reputation as the feature film division’s golden goose.
Instead, Nolan packed his bags and headed across town to Universal after every major game in town threw its hat into the ring when the Oppenheimer bidding war kicked off, with the outfit ultimately emerging victorious after meeting the filmmaker’s demands, one of which was a promise of 100-day theatrical exclusivity.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Universal regular M. Night Shyamalan revealed that he advised Nolan on where to go once his lengthy association with Warner Bros. had come to an end.
“I conveyed how much I feel about Universal’s commitment to original storytelling and the movie theaters. And in an age where everybody is trying to sell the narrative that original movies and movie theaters are dying out, I don’t believe that at all! Not even a little bit. And Universal has doubled down—and continues to double down—that it’s their identity. So, I’m hoping Jordan [Peele], Chris, myself and anybody else that will come over, or at other studios, can prove that everyone wants to see fresh, original ideas in a movie theater.”
Oppenheimer is set to begin production imminently ahead of a July 2023 release date, and if everything goes to plan, Nolan could set up shop at Universal on a more permanent basis if they continue to give him what he wants.