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Christopher Nolan is adamant about not making a fourth Batman film; laments digital filmmaking

06.11.2012

Speaking at the Produced By Conference on the Sony lot in Culver City last week, Christopher Nolan was very clear about his intention to make a fourth Batman film, as well as his disdain for the trend of filmmaker's shooting with digital over film.  On the latter, Nolan was resoundingly against making another Batman film, saying that he never had the intent to shoot beyond BATMAN BEGINS in the first place.

“We never had a specific trajectory,” Nolan said. “I wanted to put everything into making one great film, I didn’t want to hold anything back.”

When addressing the topic of digital film, Nolan was surprisingly candid about his dislike of the medium and the inclination towards it by many filmmakers, saying it is “devaluing of what we do as filmmakers.

Nolan went on to address the onslaught of digital options, saying, “I don’t want to be the R and D department. I don’t have any interest in the research into electronics. What interests me is to use the best technology and that is film.” adding “It’s like filmmakers are being encouraged to buy cameras like we are buying iPods.”

He went on to liken the digital process to being no different that watching movies at home, saying, “You really are kind of sitting in your living room now watching moves.” Use of digital projection, the director said, “is reducing most theaters to showing TV commercials.”

However, Nolan didn't put the last egg in the basket, saying, “When it is as good as film and makes economic sense, I’d be completely open to it.”

The Batman news isn't a surprise to me.  I've always felt that BATMAN BEGINS is the "odd man out" when it comes to the trilogy, because it's so different in tone from THE DARK KNIGHT and looks to be even more so from THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.  In hindsight, it's a little easier to build a trilogy around the first film since it's already established, but that still doesn't change the shifting tone from one to the other. 

Also, we've heard this talk before from many filmmakers.  I'll believe Nolan is off Batman when a new director is announced for the next Batman venture.  Until then, he's always a contender.  As for the film vs. digital argument?  I'm a little surprised as Nolan seems to be a pretty progressive filmmaker, which is probaby why he left us with the comment that he'd consider it when the format is up to par. 

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES opens on July 20, 2012.

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Extra Tidbit: Do you prefer film or digital? Or does it matter at all?
Source: Deadline

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4:50AM on 06/13/2012
To me it;s not like Nolan needs a 4th Batman film to be considered as an established filmmaker, he earned that even before TDK which really just put him on the A list. The man at this point in his career can do anything he pleases as far as i am concerned.
To me it;s not like Nolan needs a 4th Batman film to be considered as an established filmmaker, he earned that even before TDK which really just put him on the A list. The man at this point in his career can do anything he pleases as far as i am concerned.
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4:10PM on 06/12/2012
This reminds me of the kids in film school who wanted to shoot on film for their first projects. Some of them spent $3,000 on their movies and they turned out like crap. Shooting digital doesn't devalue what filmmakers do. Filmmakers are supposed to tell good stories. It doesn't matter what medium it's on.
This reminds me of the kids in film school who wanted to shoot on film for their first projects. Some of them spent $3,000 on their movies and they turned out like crap. Shooting digital doesn't devalue what filmmakers do. Filmmakers are supposed to tell good stories. It doesn't matter what medium it's on.
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9:17AM on 06/12/2012
For me, film or digital doesn't matter at all. But I do like the factor he placed on its comparison. I respect the fact that Nolan has stood his ground on the question. He is an adaptable Filmmaker, and as soon as Digital becomes easier, He'll make the best of it. Michael Mann has proven digital to be a great factor, which he stated that lighting with digital filmmaking is much less of a challenge.
For me, film or digital doesn't matter at all. But I do like the factor he placed on its comparison. I respect the fact that Nolan has stood his ground on the question. He is an adaptable Filmmaker, and as soon as Digital becomes easier, He'll make the best of it. Michael Mann has proven digital to be a great factor, which he stated that lighting with digital filmmaking is much less of a challenge.
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8:25PM on 06/12/2012
i think the fact that digital makes things easier is what chris nolan meant by "it devalues what we do as film makers". learning how to set up your lighting is a skill that's being replaced by a computer. its like how all of my photographer friends hate instagram because it takes everythign that they've learned from class and experience into the push of a button.
i think the fact that digital makes things easier is what chris nolan meant by "it devalues what we do as film makers". learning how to set up your lighting is a skill that's being replaced by a computer. its like how all of my photographer friends hate instagram because it takes everythign that they've learned from class and experience into the push of a button.
4:47AM on 06/12/2012
I'm not against a fourth Batman film, but I only want it to happen IF Nolan thinks it's a good idea, and if he has a story to tell, and NOT because the studio thinks it's a good idea. If this truly is the final Batman film from Nolan, so be it, as long as it's good. As far as film vs digital goes, both have their upsides. As long as Nolan's out there being comfortable with film and making great movies, what's there to complain about, right?
I'm not against a fourth Batman film, but I only want it to happen IF Nolan thinks it's a good idea, and if he has a story to tell, and NOT because the studio thinks it's a good idea. If this truly is the final Batman film from Nolan, so be it, as long as it's good. As far as film vs digital goes, both have their upsides. As long as Nolan's out there being comfortable with film and making great movies, what's there to complain about, right?
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12:34AM on 06/12/2012

OH PLEASE!

WB wanted a Batman reboot, not just one film. I like CN but he needs to get over it and give the series we deserve as an audience.

Watching a movie on digital screens can be a slight damper for me, it looks too crisp and clear for my taste. Strangely this is one thing I expect when I buy Blu or DVD. So I'm rather confused on my own stance.

WB wanted a Batman reboot, not just one film. I like CN but he needs to get over it and give the series we deserve as an audience.

Watching a movie on digital screens can be a slight damper for me, it looks too crisp and clear for my taste. Strangely this is one thing I expect when I buy Blu or DVD. So I'm rather confused on my own stance.

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11:18PM on 06/11/2012
I love Christopher Nolan. I think he is one of the most creative filmmakers working today.. But his mouth leaks of Diarrhea. He contradicts himself frequently.
I love Christopher Nolan. I think he is one of the most creative filmmakers working today.. But his mouth leaks of Diarrhea. He contradicts himself frequently.
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10:52PM on 06/11/2012
I personally prefer digital. HOWEVER, I've never shot on film, so I guess I really shouldn't be picking a choice. As for Nolan, I'm wondering if he has ever shot with digital cameras. I'm just stunned by his negativity towards it. David Fincher makes shooting digitally look amazing!
I personally prefer digital. HOWEVER, I've never shot on film, so I guess I really shouldn't be picking a choice. As for Nolan, I'm wondering if he has ever shot with digital cameras. I'm just stunned by his negativity towards it. David Fincher makes shooting digitally look amazing!
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+2
9:08PM on 06/11/2012
To those in Hollywood: Never say never.
To those in Hollywood: Never say never.
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+2
8:45PM on 06/11/2012
He his by far my favorite director working today and while I respect his disdain towards digital film-making I like to think we still live in a world of freechoices. As long as there are directors working with film or digital, with 2D or 3D, heck even color or black and white, that means ME -as audience- will always have the "freedom" to chose which art forms I'm more eager to see either at home, the theater, wherever. I believe "options" is the key here.
He his by far my favorite director working today and while I respect his disdain towards digital film-making I like to think we still live in a world of freechoices. As long as there are directors working with film or digital, with 2D or 3D, heck even color or black and white, that means ME -as audience- will always have the "freedom" to chose which art forms I'm more eager to see either at home, the theater, wherever. I believe "options" is the key here.
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+7
7:10PM on 06/11/2012
I like how Nolan say's he never intended to shoot beyond Batman Begins and in another interview he said he knew how it was going to end the entire time. So which one is it Nolan?
I like how Nolan say's he never intended to shoot beyond Batman Begins and in another interview he said he knew how it was going to end the entire time. So which one is it Nolan?
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6:33PM on 06/11/2012
"Devaluing what we do as filmmakers"? Spare me. What you shoot it on is irrelevant if you're a good enough filmmaker. You could create a masterpiece on an iPhone - good storytelling is good storytelling. The only thing devaluing filmmaking is the turgid and bloated films Nolan keeps unleashing on the gullible populace.

Sure, film looks nicer. Compare the Gatsby trailer with the Master trailer. Digital isn't quite there yet. But digital has its place and is a great tool - you'd have to be a
"Devaluing what we do as filmmakers"? Spare me. What you shoot it on is irrelevant if you're a good enough filmmaker. You could create a masterpiece on an iPhone - good storytelling is good storytelling. The only thing devaluing filmmaking is the turgid and bloated films Nolan keeps unleashing on the gullible populace.

Sure, film looks nicer. Compare the Gatsby trailer with the Master trailer. Digital isn't quite there yet. But digital has its place and is a great tool - you'd have to be a total ignoramus to dismiss the benefits.
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5:39PM on 06/11/2012

Hmmm...

He has a disdain for digital filming. He does not like using CGI, instead preferring to use real people, real sets, and real stunts. To me, that sounds more like conservative - rather than progressive. So I never understood why anyone would think he's progressive (I mean in the craft of shooting a film).

As for digital vs. film? If it is true Prometheus was shot entirely digital, then there you have a good model for digital filming because I thought it looked beautiful. I find nothing
He has a disdain for digital filming. He does not like using CGI, instead preferring to use real people, real sets, and real stunts. To me, that sounds more like conservative - rather than progressive. So I never understood why anyone would think he's progressive (I mean in the craft of shooting a film).

As for digital vs. film? If it is true Prometheus was shot entirely digital, then there you have a good model for digital filming because I thought it looked beautiful. I find nothing wrong in advancing technology but if Nolan believes it doesn't live up to the quality he finds in actual film, then who am I to argue?

Lastly, it is a bit difficult to believe he wasn't on filming any other Batman movies beyond Batman Begins.

Either way, we'll miss ya in the Batman franchise. Looking forward to your other work though.
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4:39PM on 06/11/2012
Nolan is a progressive filmmaker, which is why he hasn't regressed into the inferior digital realm. When I saw Inland Empire, it broke my heart that gone were the days of the beautifully twisted Lynch films.

If there are any naysayers out there then plant your ass in a seat during an IMAX 70mm film and then do it again for the same film in digital IMAX. There's something wrong when you feel like you're watching a pirated copy of a theater release at home on your computer screen. Such is the
Nolan is a progressive filmmaker, which is why he hasn't regressed into the inferior digital realm. When I saw Inland Empire, it broke my heart that gone were the days of the beautifully twisted Lynch films.

If there are any naysayers out there then plant your ass in a seat during an IMAX 70mm film and then do it again for the same film in digital IMAX. There's something wrong when you feel like you're watching a pirated copy of a theater release at home on your computer screen. Such is the argument of digital vs. vinyl records. There's something nostalgic about vinyl and they still sound amazing.
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-13
4:16PM on 06/11/2012

Progress

First it was talking in movies, then we progressed to color, now progressing to digital, he reminds me of the Main character from "The Artist" nothing wrong with film, but also nothing with finding new ways to shoot movies
First it was talking in movies, then we progressed to color, now progressing to digital, he reminds me of the Main character from "The Artist" nothing wrong with film, but also nothing with finding new ways to shoot movies
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4:13PM on 06/11/2012
I think there always needs to be a choice, but I will always prefer film cause it is the link all the way back to the birth of movies. Nothing more connected to movies than film reels and old projectors
I think there always needs to be a choice, but I will always prefer film cause it is the link all the way back to the birth of movies. Nothing more connected to movies than film reels and old projectors
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3:58PM on 06/11/2012

FILM all the way!

If you believe HD is higher quality than film I'm sad to tell you that you've fallen prey to clever marketing campaigns that want you to spend thousands of dollars on a new camera every few years. Indie filmmakers are better off taking a film course, renting a 35mm camera (that no doubt is sitting on some shelf right now), shooting on recans or short ends and ending up with a higher quality product for less money than a RED camera package rental. Thank goodness Nolan is holding the line!
If you believe HD is higher quality than film I'm sad to tell you that you've fallen prey to clever marketing campaigns that want you to spend thousands of dollars on a new camera every few years. Indie filmmakers are better off taking a film course, renting a 35mm camera (that no doubt is sitting on some shelf right now), shooting on recans or short ends and ending up with a higher quality product for less money than a RED camera package rental. Thank goodness Nolan is holding the line!
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11:07PM on 06/13/2012
Higher quality? Definitely not sure, but it absolutely has higher resolution. It's a fact, but I'm not really for or against film or digital.
Higher quality? Definitely not sure, but it absolutely has higher resolution. It's a fact, but I'm not really for or against film or digital.
3:49PM on 06/11/2012

Prometheus was one of the most gorgeous films ever shot, and it was digital.

I feel for Nolan because film is what he knows best. It's always good to stick with what you know.

Too bad no more 35mm Cinema cameras are being manufactured, all companies are now focusing entirely on digital. Though I'm not worried.
I feel for Nolan because film is what he knows best. It's always good to stick with what you know.

Too bad no more 35mm Cinema cameras are being manufactured, all companies are now focusing entirely on digital. Though I'm not worried.
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4:48PM on 06/11/2012
Prometheus is the exception, not the rule.
Prometheus is the exception, not the rule.
4:57PM on 06/11/2012
Prometheus looked great but watching it I kept thinking "I wonder how beautiful it'd be if it were shot on 35mm."
Prometheus looked great but watching it I kept thinking "I wonder how beautiful it'd be if it were shot on 35mm."
+8
3:42PM on 06/11/2012

Good

I don't want Nolan wasting his talents on the Batman franchise. He's already proven that he has the vision to do so much more with a stroy then to stay in the confines of an established character, especially one owned by DC comics who have always been ass plugs as to how their characters can be depicted.

Now that isn't to say the Batman movies suck or anything just that Nolan could be doing far greater things while they can get another good director for the franchise. He'd done 3, leave it
I don't want Nolan wasting his talents on the Batman franchise. He's already proven that he has the vision to do so much more with a stroy then to stay in the confines of an established character, especially one owned by DC comics who have always been ass plugs as to how their characters can be depicted.

Now that isn't to say the Batman movies suck or anything just that Nolan could be doing far greater things while they can get another good director for the franchise. He'd done 3, leave it at that!
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3:07PM on 06/11/2012

Too bloody right Chris!!

NO you absolutely CAN NOT debate whether digital is better than film.
Film is Analog and has an infinite bit depth. The best digital camera's are capable of 10-bit, or 16-bit and in some new and up coming cases, 32-bit recording modes. The best digital cameras can't capture the same range of latitude as film either. And as far as the cost goes, it's a lot cheaper to shoot Super 16mm or 2 perf 35mm than on an Alexa or Red EPIC package. Your lucky if those cameras are even available for a 20
NO you absolutely CAN NOT debate whether digital is better than film.
Film is Analog and has an infinite bit depth. The best digital camera's are capable of 10-bit, or 16-bit and in some new and up coming cases, 32-bit recording modes. The best digital cameras can't capture the same range of latitude as film either. And as far as the cost goes, it's a lot cheaper to shoot Super 16mm or 2 perf 35mm than on an Alexa or Red EPIC package. Your lucky if those cameras are even available for a 20 day indy feature schedule. Hollywood doesn't count with their uber bucks. You think on a $200 million budget the cost of film stock is a concern? It's not... trust me.

Digital has been forced on film makers in Hollywood because executives and studio heads were tricked into thinking digital was better by clever marketing and big pitches from confused directors like Peter Jackson and James Cameron. I don't hate digital, I shoot on RED and Alexa every other week, but I KNOW for a fact that film looks better and will for a long time. It breaks my heart to see a film like Prometheus shot digitally in poor quality 3D. Their money could have been spent to shoot IMAX 70mm and that shit would have been INCREDIBLE because the cinematography was incredible, it was just ruined by poorly captured 3D and the huge quality loss that comes along with the compression of 3D files and other such artifacts like contrast loss, banding etc.
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4:00PM on 06/11/2012
I concur with this post! You're speakin' the truth!
I concur with this post! You're speakin' the truth!
4:58PM on 06/11/2012
"NO you absolutely CAN NOT debate whether digital is better than film."

Of course you can. Folks are doing in in this article. You have an opinion, and they have an opinion. Different strokes man.

"You think on a $200 million budget the cost of film stock is a concern?"

Everything in a studio picture is budgeted at specific amounts for a reason, so yes, the bean counters DO care how much is being spent. Besides, who ever said that every movie has a $200 million dollar budget?
"NO you absolutely CAN NOT debate whether digital is better than film."

Of course you can. Folks are doing in in this article. You have an opinion, and they have an opinion. Different strokes man.

"You think on a $200 million budget the cost of film stock is a concern?"

Everything in a studio picture is budgeted at specific amounts for a reason, so yes, the bean counters DO care how much is being spent. Besides, who ever said that every movie has a $200 million dollar budget? There are folks out there making movies on their phones for pete's sake.
-6
2:46PM on 06/11/2012
You can debate whether or not digital is as good as film, but how does it not make economical sense? Compare the cost of thousands of feet of film stock to shoot a movie against the cost of a hard drive.
You can debate whether or not digital is as good as film, but how does it not make economical sense? Compare the cost of thousands of feet of film stock to shoot a movie against the cost of a hard drive.
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3:09PM on 06/11/2012
It's actually still cheaper to film on, erm, film. I can't tell you exactly why off the top of my head, but I've seen people break it down on film websites and apparently it's kind of a myth that digital is cheaper. That's why Michael Mann's movies lately have been so pricey, as one example.
It's actually still cheaper to film on, erm, film. I can't tell you exactly why off the top of my head, but I've seen people break it down on film websites and apparently it's kind of a myth that digital is cheaper. That's why Michael Mann's movies lately have been so pricey, as one example.
1:34PM on 06/11/2012
If he never intended to do more than one Batman movie, then how come he teased the addition of the Joker at the end of BB and left it wide the hell open.
If he never intended to do more than one Batman movie, then how come he teased the addition of the Joker at the end of BB and left it wide the hell open.
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2:43PM on 06/11/2012
Theorizing here: He may have left the door open for someone to use the Joker in the next film, just not necessarily for him to do it. Thankfully it worked out that he did.
Theorizing here: He may have left the door open for someone to use the Joker in the next film, just not necessarily for him to do it. Thankfully it worked out that he did.
1:28PM on 06/11/2012
I'm not against digital at all. But I do think it can be the wrong medium in some films. I actually am in the miority thinking it added something to the film "Public Enemies," as it stripped away the classic period-film look we are accustomed to. But absolutely, digital can be pretty bad sometimes. And for a director like Nolan, if film is what he likes, then by all means, keep using what you know.

As for the Batman bit, well, I don't think WB ever locked him down for a contract to do all
I'm not against digital at all. But I do think it can be the wrong medium in some films. I actually am in the miority thinking it added something to the film "Public Enemies," as it stripped away the classic period-film look we are accustomed to. But absolutely, digital can be pretty bad sometimes. And for a director like Nolan, if film is what he likes, then by all means, keep using what you know.

As for the Batman bit, well, I don't think WB ever locked him down for a contract to do all three, or even two. And as for what his brother migth have said, he didn't even collaborate on the first movie, so he was probably referring to the aftermath of TDK.
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+17
12:56PM on 06/11/2012
I don't care really, but digital does take the piss out of a lot of films and it does look like you are watching HD soap operas. Not to pick on him or anything, but once Rodriguez went to digital his films have all in my opinion started looking cheesy as hell and way too fake.
I don't care really, but digital does take the piss out of a lot of films and it does look like you are watching HD soap operas. Not to pick on him or anything, but once Rodriguez went to digital his films have all in my opinion started looking cheesy as hell and way too fake.
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1:32PM on 06/11/2012
Michael Mann is a good reason to switch back to film. He's a terrific director, but the HD is distracting.
Michael Mann is a good reason to switch back to film. He's a terrific director, but the HD is distracting.
12:56PM on 06/11/2012

I love film, but I also love RED.

If that's an answer. I think the biggest argument against Digital projection is that Tarantino has said he'll retire if his films can't be shown on 35 in theaters.
If that's an answer. I think the biggest argument against Digital projection is that Tarantino has said he'll retire if his films can't be shown on 35 in theaters.
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12:43PM on 06/11/2012

I love Nolan...

...but it's weird, because his brother Jonathan claims they had an idea mapped out all along for an ending to the series, and knew it would be three parts...and then Chris says he only ever planned on making one...
...but it's weird, because his brother Jonathan claims they had an idea mapped out all along for an ending to the series, and knew it would be three parts...and then Chris says he only ever planned on making one...
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+13
12:39PM on 06/11/2012
Film all the way. Digital just looks too fake
Film all the way. Digital just looks too fake
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12:38PM on 06/11/2012
Just got my IMAX tickets, go Nolan!

Thank you for letting me give you my money.
Just got my IMAX tickets, go Nolan!

Thank you for letting me give you my money.
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1:16PM on 06/11/2012
Lucky you. I'm still waiting for AMC to get done "negotiating" so they can sell their IMAX tickets. Bastards.
Lucky you. I'm still waiting for AMC to get done "negotiating" so they can sell their IMAX tickets. Bastards.
12:33PM on 06/11/2012
I love Christopher Nolan, but digital is now indistinguishable to film.

Other than The Avengers, I haven't seen any movies shot on the new Arri Alexa or Red Epic cameras (and I couldn't tell The Avengers was shot digitally). The trailers for films I've seen shot on those cameras though (The Hobbit, Lawless, Jack the Giant Killer, Prometheus, Spiderman, Abraham Lincoln, Total Recall, Skyfall, The Great Gatsby, Argo, Gangster Squad, Rock of Ages) all look great and do not look like digital
I love Christopher Nolan, but digital is now indistinguishable to film.

Other than The Avengers, I haven't seen any movies shot on the new Arri Alexa or Red Epic cameras (and I couldn't tell The Avengers was shot digitally). The trailers for films I've seen shot on those cameras though (The Hobbit, Lawless, Jack the Giant Killer, Prometheus, Spiderman, Abraham Lincoln, Total Recall, Skyfall, The Great Gatsby, Argo, Gangster Squad, Rock of Ages) all look great and do not look like digital whatsoever.

They'll have cameras shooting 8K, 10K, and 12K soon enough, then digital IMAX films will become the new gold standard.
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1:13PM on 06/11/2012
Speak for yourself. Digital is in no way indistinguishable and the trained eye can clearly tell the difference.
Speak for yourself. Digital is in no way indistinguishable and the trained eye can clearly tell the difference.
3:09PM on 06/11/2012
Yeah, you can still tell if you know what you're looking for. Spiderman trailers you can def tell, though the Epic is impressive. Low light gives it away which is surprising that so much of Spiderman looks like it takes place at night. Gatsby, Hobbit, Lincoln all that that digital gloss. Avengers might the only one so far that I've seen that doesn't so much of the shine. Gangster Squad trailer looked good too.
Yeah, you can still tell if you know what you're looking for. Spiderman trailers you can def tell, though the Epic is impressive. Low light gives it away which is surprising that so much of Spiderman looks like it takes place at night. Gatsby, Hobbit, Lincoln all that that digital gloss. Avengers might the only one so far that I've seen that doesn't so much of the shine. Gangster Squad trailer looked good too.
4:03PM on 06/11/2012
You can totally tell the difference. Even my wife (not a filmmaker) can tell the difference. Compare the latest Pirates film shot on HD against the earlier Pirates films (for technicality not story or writing...they're all pretty bad). The difference is night and day.
You can totally tell the difference. Even my wife (not a filmmaker) can tell the difference. Compare the latest Pirates film shot on HD against the earlier Pirates films (for technicality not story or writing...they're all pretty bad). The difference is night and day.
+12
12:27PM on 06/11/2012
Nolan is very intelligent. I've been so happy to see him stick up for higher resolutions (film) and IMAX, instead of the gimmicky 3-D that often hinders complete control over how you want scenes shot.
Nolan is very intelligent. I've been so happy to see him stick up for higher resolutions (film) and IMAX, instead of the gimmicky 3-D that often hinders complete control over how you want scenes shot.
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12:18PM on 06/11/2012
In Thailand (where I live now), some movies have headlines that'd say "Shown in Digital Cinema/Projection". Honestly I can hardly tell the difference. If that said movie was shown without such headline, I wouldn't really know it's a Digital Cinema or Digital Projection. However, if you use Michael Mann's Public Enemies that was shot with high-def digital camera as an example, that I can tell the difference.
In Thailand (where I live now), some movies have headlines that'd say "Shown in Digital Cinema/Projection". Honestly I can hardly tell the difference. If that said movie was shown without such headline, I wouldn't really know it's a Digital Cinema or Digital Projection. However, if you use Michael Mann's Public Enemies that was shot with high-def digital camera as an example, that I can tell the difference.
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