There’s very little chance that the theatrical industry will still be facing its current predicament when Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom arrives in December 2022, but that hasn’t stopped Jason Momoa from negotiating a hefty bonus payment should James Wan’s blockbuster sequel bypass the big screen and head exclusively to HBO Max.
As slim as the chances of it actually happening are, it’s a smart move from the actor nonetheless. After all, Scarlett Johansson sued Disney for breach of contract when Black Widow was awarded a hybrid release, while Emma Stone is rumored to have used the exact same leverage to secure herself a better deal for the Cruella sequel.
As the leading man of the highest-grossing DC Comics adaptation ever made, Momoa was already guaranteed a substantial bump in his salary for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, but he’s clearly keeping his bases covered in the event of a worst case scenario. Let’s not forget that Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins negotiated bonuses of at least $10 million apiece for Wonder Woman 1984‘s simultaneous streaming debut, so you’d expect Momoa to have landed something similar.
Of course, it’s going to be very bad news for the entire entertainment sector if we’re talking about mega budget franchise films potentially skipping cinemas sixteen months from now, but after the Black Widow debacle and the criticism some Warner Bros. talent threw in the direction of the studio over 2021’s shift in business strategy, it’s more important than ever that the stars look out for themselves. As it stands, though, we can hopefully say with 99.9% certainty that there won’t be any issues stopping Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom from premiering exclusively in theaters.