Christopher Nolan Says Warner Bros. Feud Is ‘Water Under the Bridge,’ Would ‘Absolutely’ Work with Studio Again

Christopher Nolan is open to working with Warner Bros. again after all.

The “Oppenheimer” director, whose latest blockbuster starring Cillian Murphy was distributed by Universal, said in a Variety cover story that his feud with Warner Bros. is now “water under the bridge.”

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Nolan parted ways with the studio in 2021 after Warners shifted its entire film slate that year to a day-and-date hybrid release model with streaming on HBO Max. Nolan said at the time, “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.”

Despite not having a production deal with Warner Bros., Nolan worked with the company for nearly 20 years since the release of “Insomnia,” and including “The Dark Knight” trilogy.

“It’s water under the bridge,” Nolan said of his dispute with Warner Bros. Then-CEO Jason Kilar is no longer with the studio; instead, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav oversees co-film chiefs Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy. His last film for the studio, “Tenet,” was subject to repeated delays during the pandemic before eventually releasing in August 2020; the film struggled theatrically to recoup its budget.

When asked if Nolan would work with Warner Bros. again, he said, “Oh yeah, absolutely. Pam and Mike and Zaslav, they’re trying to do some great things with that studio, which is encouraging to see.”

De Luca previously told Variety that Warner Bros. is “hoping to get Nolan back.”

Universal’s “Oppenheimer” and Warner Bros.’ “Barbie” were released on the same day; Nolan acknowledged that the double feature campaign benefitted theaters.

“It’s always daunting when you start to see how the competition for the summer is shaking up,” Nolan said. “I’ve been releasing summer films for 20 years, and it’s always crowded. People had forgotten what it was like pre-COVID. Not that long ago, there often was more than one big film opening on a weekend. That can be stressful for filmmakers, but it’s better for theaters.”

He added, “With certain films, your timing is just right in ways that you never could have predicted. When you start making a film, you’re two or three years out from when it’s going to be released, so you’re trying to hit a moving target as far as the interest of the audience. But sometimes you catch a wave and the story you’re telling is one people are waiting for.”

The “Inception” director said, “It’s clear from the box office that audiences are looking for things they haven’t seen before. We’ve been through a period where it was wonderfully reassuring for studio executives to feel that their franchise properties could go on forever and be predictably successful. But you can’t deny filmgoers’ desire for novelty.”

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