It turns out that not even Christopher Nolan wants to piss off Netflix too much. The director went viral in July when he slammed the streaming giant’s day-and-date release strategy in an interview with IndieWire, but the “Dunkirk” filmmaker has told Variety that he ended up emailing an apology to Netflix executive Ted Sarandos for being rude. Nolan stands by his comment and remains steadfast in his belief that Netflix will never compare to the theatrical experience, but he does admit to understanding just how revolutionary the streaming platform is and says he expressed his thoughts a bit too harshly.
“I should have been more polite,” Nolan tells Variety. “I said what I believe, but I was undiplomatic in the way I expressed it. I wasn’t giving any context to the frankly revolutionary nature of what Netflix has done. It’s extraordinary. They need appropriate respect for that, which I have.”
Nolan originally told IndieWire that Netflix’s “aversion to supporting theatrical films” was a bizarre decision. When Netflix releases a movie theatrically, it also makes it available to stream on its website the same day. “They have this mindless policy of everything having to be simultaneously streamed and released, which is obviously an untenable model for theatrical presentation,” Nolan said. “So they’re not even getting in the game, and I think they’re missing a huge opportunity.”
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In the same interview, Nolan praised Netflix’s biggest competitor, Amazon Studios. Amazon releases its original and acquired titles in theaters first before they become available for streaming approximately three months later. “You can see that Amazon is very clearly happy to not make that same mistake,” he said. “The theaters have a 90-day window. It’s a perfectly usable model. It’s terrific.”