Christopher Nolan Reveals Outrageous List of Demands for Next Movie Including a $100 Million Budget
British-American director Christopher Nolan is no stranger to making expensive movies. His two recent works, Dunkirk and Tenet, have a combined budget of roughly $350 million. However, studios have no issue allowing him to go crazy due to his masterful work and critical acclaim.
Nolan’s latest project was just picked up by Universal Pictures, severing the long-standing relationship between him and Warner Bros. The American film production and distribution company now has to deal with the screenwriter’s insane list of demands.
Christopher Nolan was shopping for a new home
It was recently going around in the news that the Memento director was shopping for a new home to house his upcoming title. According to Variety, while this is pretty big news, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to anybody.
Earlier this year, Warner Bros. made an announcement that they will be simultaneously releasing all of their 2021 titles on HBO Max. When the shocking news got to Nolan, he let everyone know exactly how he felt about it.
“There’s such controversy around it because they didn’t tell anyone. In 2021, they’ve got some of the top filmmakers in the world, they’ve got some of the biggest stars in the world who worked for years in some cases on these projects very close to their hearts that are meant to be big-screen experiences. They’re meant to be out there for the widest possible audiences…” the Inception writer told ET. “And now they’re being used as a loss-leader for the streaming service — for the fledgling streaming service — without any consultation. So, there’s a lot of controversy. It’s very, very, very, very messy. A real bait and switch.”
Many studios were hoping to secure a deal
After the reports that he was looking for someone else to back his new idea got out, a ton of studios started vying for the Dark Knight director’s attention. The Hollywood Reporter broke that three big studio heads went to see Nolan at his compound in the Hollywood Hills.
Universal’s Donna Langley, Sony’s Tom Rothman, and Paramount’s Jim Gianopulos all made the trek to visit him and try to coerce him into a deal with their studio. The three execs all got the chance to read the new script about WWII scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in creating the atom bomb.
After much deliberation and the discussion of conditions, Nolan eventually chose to go with Universal Pictures.
Christopher Nolan’s list of demands scared many of them away
Knowing exactly what he would like to do with the upcoming picture, Nolan had a set of demands that he would not budge on. Among the stipulations was a production budget of $100 million. He next asked for total creative control, a 100-day theatrical window, and 20% of first-dollar gross.
In addition, the Interstellar producer wanted a blackout period from the studio in which the company would not release another movie three weeks before or three weeks after his release.
These are some pretty tall asks, but Nolan always got them during his time at Warner Bros. After hearing the rules, Paramount backed out immediately, followed by Apple, who was also a contender.
According to an inside source from The Hollywood Reporter, Universal came along and just said yes to everything. The company has long been fostering a relationship with Nolan and has taken in other talents from his old studio. They have also not had as much of an issue as others during the pandemic and have a strong marketing and distribution infrastructure.
This is good news for now, but there are still many things that the new connection needs to work out.