Christopher Nolan on the decline of physical media | “It’s scary for filmmakers”

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Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas fight the fight for DVD, Blu-ray and 4K disc, against a drive from Hollywood towards streaming.


Fair play to Christopher Nolan, who’s been using the press tour for the DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of his latest film Oppenheimer to bang the drum for physical film media. He and producer Emma Thomas are clearly passionate advocates for films on disc, and in an interesting piece over at IGN, they’ve been chatting about this again.

Set against an ecosystem that’s seen streaming companies ‘delete’ films from their service to save money, Nolan argues that without discs, consumers and filmmakers are relying on the continued health of digital distributors just to maintain access to their films.

That, though, hasn’t always been the case, but it’s not stopped studios stripping back on their physical film media production, and stores removing product from their shelves. “A lot of economic decisions around home video have always been based around the need to show short term growth rather than the long term health of the business”, Nolan argues.

Emma Thomas goes further, declaring that “the slow death death of physical media is a terrible thing for consumers”.

She adds that “I think it’s a terrible thing for filmmakers who want their films to have a life beyond what their initial release is. And I think that all of us should be doing whatever we can to keep it going.”.

Credit to IGN to dedicating space to this discussion, too. Its video with the interviews should appear below these words…

And we’ll point you in the direction of further words that Christopher Nolan has as part of the discussion. “We’re now beginning to see and I’m beginning to have conversations with filmmakers that have made successful films that have gone to streaming sites and have been taken off those sites and don’t exist in any form. There’s no control. Even from a consumer point of view, and it’s scary for filmmakers who don’t have that release right now, it’s going to be an increasingly big issue for filmmakers, and it’s something we’re going to have to address with streamers at some point”.

There are signs of promise: the 4K disc of Oppenheimer all but sold out at one point in the US before Christmas. But still: physical media clearly needs fighting for at the moment, and it’s useful to have Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas in its corner.

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