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When Christopher Nolan’s Masterpiece ‘Memento’ Received Poor Response During Initial Screenings: “No One Wanted It…”

Christopher Nolan's Memento
Christopher Nolan’s movie Memento. (Photo Credit – Instagram/IMDb)

In 2000, Christopher Nolan’s Mememto blew everyone away. The psychological thriller stars Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jorja Fox, and Joe Pantoliano. It’s the story of a man named Leonardo, who has short-term memory loss and must seek revenge for his wife’s death. Due to his forgettable memory, Leonardo had to rely only on photographs. The film is based on Christopher’s brother Jonathan Nolan’s short story, Memento Mori.

It has been 24 years since Memento was released, and Nolan fans consider it one of his best directorials. The movie has twists and turns and moments that will startle you often. But did you know that when the movie was screened initially, the response was not that great? Jonathan Nolan made this shocking revelation.

Memento Trailer

On the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Jonathan Nolan said that they screened the movie for producers on the same day, March 2000. Jonathan took his brother out for a steak, and his wife, Emma Thomas, attended one of the screenings. The Todd sisters and the movie’s producer, Aaron Ryder, also attended separate screenings. They called Jonathan on his phone and told him no one wanted to buy Christopher Nolan’s Memento.

Nobody Wanted to Buy Memento

Jonathan Nolan revealed, “It started with Harvey Weinstein and all the rest… We screened it for all these movie theaters, and we get completely blanked. No one wanted it, and all of them responded, ‘Oh, I thought it was great.’ “Okay, well, how much do you want to offer?” We would have taken not a lot of money. And the answer was, “I get it, but the audience won’t get it.” And there was such contempt for the audience.”

He added, “This is really what motivated a lot of my career and a lot of the way I’ve approached my career. There’s such contempt for the audience, that the audience was a bunch of f*cking idiots. So they wouldn’t get it. And I thought to myself, ‘God, I’ve met some of these executives. What makes you think you’re that much smarter than the audience? Cause you’re not’.”

Well, that’s quite a shocker. After Memento, Christopher Nolan directed several riveting movies, including Insomnia, the Batman movies, Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk, Tenet, and Oppenheimer. The filmmaker also won an Oscar in the Best Director category for Oppenheimer.

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