Based on the very public backlash from several of their business partners and contracted talents, it would appear as though Warner Bros. simply forged ahead with the decision to release their entire 2021 slate of movies on HBO Max the same day they hit theaters without consulting anyone apart from Wonder Woman 1984 duo Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins, who reportedly received at least $10 million each to make up for the shortfall in performance-related bonuses that sending a major blockbuster to streaming would bring.
Dune director Denis Villenueve was scathing in his assessment of the studio’s potentially game-changing strategy, while WB’s golden goose Christopher Nolan also blasted the move, and Legendary Pictures threatened legal action after being cut out of the loop in regards to Godzilla vs. Kong, having been blocked from selling the distribution rights to Netflix in order to recoup their investment.
While the titles in question will only play on HBO Max for a month before disappearing from the library and returning at a later date, that’s when most major Hollywood projects tend to make the majority of their box office dollars, and there are going to be a lot of people left out of pocket when the takings inevitably plummet now that audiences can check out the biggest movies of the year from the comfort of their own homes.
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The latest report names The Matrix 4‘s Lana Wachowski as another disgruntled talent who plans on fighting for the long-awaited fourth entry in the sci-fi series to release exclusively on the big screen and nowhere else. In fact, according to THR, the director is “adamant about an exclusive theatrical run.”
Clearly, Warner Bros. have opened a huge can of worms by moving forward without covering every angle first, and we could well end up seeing the likes of Godzilla vs. Kong, Dune and The Matrix 4 all get pulled from HBO Max and kept as theatrical exclusives.