Shockwaves reverberated around Hollywood when it was revealed that Christopher Nolan would be ending his 20-year association with Warner Bros. after he shopped his latest in-development project to various studios around Hollywood, igniting a massive bidding war to secure the service of one of the modern era’s pre-eminent filmmakers.
It goes without saying that landing a talent of Nolan’s caliber would be a huge coup for any studio, and it was Universal who ended up winning out in the end. Not much is known about The Dark Knight Trilogy director’s next effort other than it sees him returning to the realms of historical drama to explore Robert J. Oppenheimer’s role in the development of the atomic bomb, with regular collaborator Cillian Murphy already being rumored for a role.
Based on the billions of box office dollars and awards season glory to have greeted the majority of his recent output, Nolan was able to write himself a blank check and sign with any outfit willing to meet his demands. That turned out to be Universal, and president Donna Langley recent revealed via Deadline that the untitled film will play exclusively in theaters for 100 days, an increasing rarity in the age of streaming.
“Look, Chris has a precedent at Warner Bros. in the 20 years he was making movies there and he was very clear with, I think, everybody that he spoke with that that was something he was looking to do and so I think that was a sort of point of entry. We are happy to accommodate it. We are training consumers to expect movies earlier.”
Nolan was scathing in his criticisms of Warner Bros. for releasing the entire slate of 2021 titles on HBO Max the same day they hit theaters, so he was always going to push for a lengthy run on the big screen before there was any chance of a streaming debut. Production is expected to begin on the Oppenheimer biopic early next year, so casting announcements may not be too far away.