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Christopher Nolan Defends the Role of Franchises in Hollywood: A Healthy Film Industry Needs ‘A Balance’

In the endless debate about Hollywood’s reliance on superhero franchises at the expense of original filmmaking, few voices matter as much as those of Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese. Nolan is one of the last filmmakers who can regularly command nine figure studio budgets to make original blockbusters, and Scorsese has emerged as the world’s most prominent advocate for the preservation of cinema as a serious art form rather than simply escapist entertainment.

While promoting “Killers of the Flower Moon” in September, Scorsese told GQ that filmmakers like Nolan need to “fight back stronger” against comic book movie dominance in order to preserve cinema culture for future generations.

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“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 new interview with the Associated Press, Nolan was asked to respond to Scorsese’s comments and weighed in on the anti-franchise sentiment that’s prevalent among top filmmakers. While he stressed the importance of original films, the “Batman Begins” director said that he believes there can always be a place for existing IP within the film industry. He explained that the financial windfalls that often accompany franchise blockbusters can help offset the risk that comes with more original films, which benefits those seeking more innovative cinema.

“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 emphasized that moviegoers still crave originality and the thrill of discovering something truly new. The filmmaker explained that, in his view, Hollywood needs to rely on a balance between franchises and originality.

“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.”

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