Few opinions count as much in the never-ending discussion about Hollywood’s dependence on superhero franchises at the detriment of indie filmmaking as those of Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan. As one of the few directors still able to consistently secure nine-figure corporate budgets for his films, Nolan is among the few, and Scorsese has become the leading voice globally in favor of keeping films as serious art forms rather than just forms of escape from everyday life.
In September, when promoting “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Scorsese stated to GQ that to protect cinema culture for subsequent generations, directors like Christopher Nolan must “fight back stronger” against the overwhelming power of comic book movies. “And you’ll have, you know, the Safdie brothers, and you’ll have Chris Nolan, you know what I mean? And hit ’em from all sides,” Scorsese said. “Hit ’em from all sides, and don’t give up. Let’s see what you got. Go out there and do it. Go reinvent.”
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Nolan addressed the anti-franchise feeling that many high-profile directors share in response to Scorsese’s remarks. The filmmaker of “Batman Begins,” while emphasizing the value of original movies, also expressed his belief that there would always be a role for pre-existing trademarks in the motion picture business. He clarified that those looking for more avant-garde filmmaking would profit from the financial windfalls that frequently follow franchise blockbusters, as they can help balance the risk associated with more original films. “There’s always a balance in Hollywood between established titles that can assure a return in audience and give people more of what they want, that’s always been a big part of the economics of Hollywood,” Nolan said. “And it pays for lots of other types of films to be made and distributed.”
Nolan also made a point of saying that audiences are still drawn to uniqueness and the excitement of finding something completely novel. The director clarified that, in his opinion, Hollywood must rely on striking an equilibrium between creativity and franchises. But there also always needs to be respect for the audience’s desire for something new… One of the big thrills of going to the movies is, frankly, seeing a trailer for a movie you’ve never heard of, type of movie you haven’t seen.” he said. “A healthy ecosystem in Hollywood is about a balance between the two things and always has been.”