Christopher Nolan's crazy demands reportedly killed embryonic talks with Apple TV+

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Apple TV+ (Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Hollywood legend Christopher Nolan was reportedly considered for a deal with Apple TV+.
  • A report says talks with Nolan were killed off over his demands relating to theatrical release and more.

As Apple TV+ continues to pick the very best talent for new shows and movies, Christopher Nolan's name was always going to come up. Now, a new report claims that was very much the case — but Apple balked at demands that included a theatrical window, a 20% cut, and more.

Apple wasn't the only one keen to get involved with Nolan's next project, either. Paramount, Sony, and Universal were involved in talks according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter. That project, centered around one of the names behind the atom bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, now looks destined for Universal.

The terms that Universal appears to have agreed to were deemed too problematic for Apple and the other big hitters involved in negotiations, the report says.

The project is meant to be a smaller-scale feature film for Nolan, which in his case, meant a production budget of around $100 million and an equal marketing spend, according to sources. He asked for total creative control, 20 percent of first-dollar gross, and a blackout period from the studio wherein the company would not release another movie three weeks before or three weeks after his release. And he asked for what insiders say was around a 100-day theatrical window. (Some sources have said the number was 110 days, with one person saying it was 130 days.) These were, in fact, many of the conditions Nolan was accustomed to enjoying at Warners.

The report goes on to say that Apple was ready to commit to a theatrical window, but not to the extent that Nolan wanted.

For its part, Universal seems to have "just said 'yes'" — it was very keen to get the deal done, apparently.

Nolan would have been a big catch for Apple, but it isn't without its own names. Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith. and Scarlett Johansson are all attached to Apple TV+ in some way and it's easy to imagine the company refusing to be pushed around by a director. Even if that director is Christopher Nolan.

If you want to enjoy Apple TV+ in style, be sure to check out our list of the Best Apple TV deals on the market today.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.