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Christopher Nolan believes his Batman trilogy was the last time that a filmmaker was afforded the luxury of time. The critically-acclaimed writer-director burst onto the scene in 1998 with his neo-noir crime drama, Following, and then followed up that movie with 2000’s Memento and 2002’s Insomnia. But what really put him on the map was his 2005 comic book film, Batman Begins, which kicked off what is widely considered the best superhero trilogy of all-time; that included The Dark Knight in 2008 and The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.
Nowadays, superhero movies release like clockwork, with sequels hitting theaters no more than two years after the previous installment opens worldwide. What’s more, considering that most franchises revolve around shared universes, characters (and actors and actresses) can appear in more than one film in less than one year and still have another sequel planned for their solo movies. Unfortunately, time is a luxury major Hollywood studios don’t afford filmmakers anymore, at least not for the most part – and that’s something that Nolan laments.
Nolan offered his opinion on the current state of the filmmaking industry at the BAFTA: A Life In Pictures event recently, admitting to being afforded the luxury of time to develop his Batman trilogy, something that not many writers or directors are provided anymore.
“That’s a privilege and a luxury that filmmakers aren’t afforded anymore. I think [my Batman trilogy] was the last time that anyone was able to say to a studio, ‘I might do another one, but it will be four years’. There’s too much pressure on release schedules to let people do that now but creatively it’s a huge advantage. We had the privilege and advantage to develop as people and as storytellers and then bring the family back together.”
Chris Nolan Directs TDKR Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy Had the ‘Luxury’ of Time
Nolan’s Batman trilogy is the prime example of a filmmaker being afforded the time to get his movies right. Moreover, by spreading out each chapter, he was able to pursue other films as well, such as 2006’s The Prestige and 2010’s Inception – both of which released between Batman installments. However, as Warners’ unofficially titled DCEU proves, rushing comic book movies can have an adverse effect on the film’s quality and contribute to oversaturation.
By releasing a string of critically and commercially successful films for Warner Bros., some of which pushed the boundaries of not only the filmmaking industry but of the awards ceremonies as well, Nolan was able to earn the unyielding respect and admiration from the studio chiefs, so much that the studio is unwilling to provide auteur directors with final cut rights anymore, with exceptions being made for filmmakers such as Nolan and Clint Eastwood. In fact, Nolan was only able to make Dunkirk – which is already receiving Oscar buzz – at this point in his career because he’s earned Warner Bros.’ trust.