Christopher Nolan | Films vanishing from streaming services “will need to be fixed”

Christopher Nolan is often rumoured to direct the next James Bond Film vanished
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Films and TV shows have a danger of vanishing from history if they only exist on streaming services, Christopher Nolan notes. “They come and go.”

Just last week, Christopher Nolan caught the internet’s ear when he talked about the physical disc release of Oppenheimer. The DVD and Blu-ray is, he said, “A version you can buy and own at home and put on a shelf so no evil streaming service can steal it from you.”

As Nolan has recently underlined, that oft-shared quote was intended as a wry joke, but it gets to a serious issue we’ve seen as streaming services have become the go-to means of watching movies: if a film, documentary or TV show only appears on a platform like Netflix or Amazon Prime, there’s always the possibility that it will one day vanish.

Only a couple of months ago, we saw Disney+ delete an entire raft of releases from its streaming platform, including the high-profile fantasy sequel series Willow which had appeared on the service a few months earlier. At the time of writing, there isn’t a legal means of viewing the series, since it never received a disc release.

It’s a worrying trend that Nolan again addressed in a discussion with The Washington Post (as picked up by The Hollywood Reporter). “There is a danger these days that if things only exist in the streaming version, they do get taken down,” Nolan said. “They come and go – as do broadcast versions of films, so my films will play on HBO or whatever, they’ll come and go. But the home video version is the thing that can always be there, so people can always access it. And since the 1980s, as filmmakers, we’ve taken that for granted, and now we have to make sure that there’s a way that that can continue to happen, if not the physical media.”

Nolan later added that, while there isn’t an “intentional conspiracy” behind the situation, legalities like expiring licencing agreements could still leave filmmakers’ work unavailable to the public – perhaps even permanently.

“The danger I’m talking about with a filmmaker’s film just sort of disappearing from streaming one day and then maybe not coming back or not coming back for a long period of time, that’s not an intentional conspiracy,” Nolan said. “That’s just a way that with the particular licensing agreements, the way things are evolving. So it’s something worth pointing out because it will need to be fixed, but I’m very confident that it will be.”

Oppenheimer is out on DVD and Blu-ray on the 22nd November in the UK.

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