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Filmmakers Versus HBO Max: How to Make Sense of the Backlash to a Radical Decision

Christopher Nolan is pissed, and he's not the only one. Did Warner Bros. cross a line?


It’s been over a week since Warner Bros. made the controversial decision to release its entire 2021 film slate on HBO Max at the same time that those titles hit theaters. The day-and-date strategy might be familiar to indies these days, but for Hollywood, it’s a radical choice that has inflamed many of the filmmakers who expected the studio to take a different route. Unsurprisingly, Christopher Nolan was the first one out of the gate to bash the decision, though “Tenet” has already come and gone from most U.S. theaters. Since then, Denis Villeneuve has spoken up, and agencies are up in arms. But who has the upper hand here — and what does this public spat tell us about the nature of the decision?

In this week’s episode of Screen Talk, Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson talk through way this decision has been playing out in public. They also address George Clooney’s upcoming Netflix movie “The Midnight Sky” and revisit “Happiest Season” before looking ahead to next week’s Sundance announcement.

Watch the full episode above or listen to it below. 

Screen Talk is available on Apple PodcastsStitcher, and SoundcloudYou can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with Thompson and Kohn on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Browse previous installments here, review the show on Apple Podcasts and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts address specific issues in upcoming editions of Screen Talk. Check out the rest of IndieWire’s podcasts on Apple Podcasts right here.

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