Warner Bros. Pictures’ HBO Max Streaming Plans In Jeopardy

Ever since Warner Bros. Pictures announced its plans for 2021 to simultaneously release movies both in cinemas and on HBO Max feathers within the industry have ruffled. We broke the news here back in December, and it already drew the ire of Hollywood when it was revealed that they hadn’t even discussed the option with many of its producers and directors for its projects.

Christopher Nolan was notably outspoken about the theatrical experience being lost, and Dune director Denis Villeneuve also spoke out.

Warner Bros. Pictures has been disrespectful towards filmmakers

John David Washington Tenet Review

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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Judd Apatow also called the decision without consultation with those involved in December in an interview with Variety as “disrespect”. Despite Warner Bros. Pictures emphatically stating this decision is only for 12 months due to the pandemic it could signify devastating changes to the theatrical model.

However, one notable issue that came apparent was between Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures.  Ever since the announcement, multiple parties have been seeking compensation and legal action with the company against the action.

Legendary have both Dune and Godzilla vs Kong which they made with Warner Bros. on the slate for 2021. Godzilla vs Kong was already subject to streaming rumours a month before.

Warners made Legendary say No to Netflix Legendary funded over 75% of the $200m budget and were blocked by Warner Bros. from accepting a $225m+ deal from Netflix for streaming rights in November 2020.

So, you can see why Legendary jumped straight to their lawyers when Warner Bros. pretty much did it anyway just with their own platform in December 2020. These are certainly two films that define blockbuster experience within a cinema, and Legendary wasn’t too happy about being caught off guard.

Especially with the $200 budget for Godzilla vs Kong. However, apparently, an agreement is close to being locked down on Godzilla vs Kong with both parties close to the bargaining table.

It’s different for Dune. This is due to director Denis Villeneuve demanding a theatrical release exclusively, & with plans for further films in the series, it’s performance will be key.

Dune is due to release in October 2021, and with a stacked cast could do well if cinemas open back up to a much more normal capacity come this autumn. Dune is a notably difficult text to adapt onto the big screen, it’s not filled with constant action, is actually quite political in its plot and it has real concern that it will flop against its budget even in normal times.

If one of Warner Bros. 2021 movies fail, they all will


Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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However, if it’s given an exclusive release instead of the current 2021 HBO Max/cinema schedule, the house of cards could really start to fall. Why wouldn’t other titles such as The Matrix 4, and director Lana Wachowski demand, if not have more equity in getting the same deal?

The Matrix series is a heavyweight box office draw, along with some of the original cast including Keanu Reeves (Neo) returning for the 4th film, it’s highly anticipated. And this may encourage even further lawsuits and jeopardise the entire strategy they were trying to do in the first place.

What do you make of this feature? Are you worried about Warner Bros. Pictures’ 2021 movies and do you think they’ll have issues putting all their 2021 movies out on HBO Max? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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