The incomprehension of the directors and actors of the historic studio is total in front of the decision to release 17 films simultaneously in theaters and in streaming in 2021.
“They thought they worked for the biggest movie studio and woke up to find they worked for the worst streaming service.“Christopher Nolan is angry and with him”some of the industry’s greatest filmmakers and movie stars“. In a statement issued by Hollywood Reporter, the director is opposed to Warner who announced on December 3 the simultaneous release in theaters and on streaming platforms 17 of his big productions of the year 2021. Outraged, the director did not go dead hand. After 18 years of collaboration, he accuses Warner Bros. of dismantling “an incredible machine to bring out the work of a filmmaker everywhere, both in cinemas and in people’s homes», He confided to Hollywood Reporter.
Many players in the American film industry received the announcement very badly. An agent describes as “big mistake»Warner’s decision toHollywood Reporter. Another judge that if Warner was the “studio par excellence, favorable to talent and filmmakers ”, he was no longer “neither the first, nor the second nor even the third where you want to go“. For many, this decision amounts to sacrificing the huge profits generated in theaters through the versions of films in various formats.
Warner collaborators do not budge. Denis Villeneuve, the director of Dune, considers essential a traditional theatrical release of his film. Chu, the director of Crazy Rich Asians would have refused a large offer from Netflix, in favor of Warner, out of attraction for the experience of the rooms … Faced with a fait accompli, the associates of Warner mainly blame a glaring lack of communication. The maneuver is deemed opportune for the studio, and the film industry fears that the public will get used to discovering the outings at home. The survival of the rooms is in everyone’s mind, after a year 2020, marked by their closure, due to the health crisis.
For its part, an American collective of independent cinemas, the Independent Cinema Alliance, underlined in a press release that “re-engagement in favor of exclusive content in theatersWas imperative. For theaters, the release of films only in theaters during a certain period is “which gives added value to this cultural establishment, not streaming“.
Arguments that do not impact the vision of John Stankey, CEO of AT&T and parent company of Warner. “We knew we had to try something different, he replied. We think it’s a great way to enter the market fasterWith HBO Max. For the businessman, this new model is “win-win-winFor WarnerMedia, consumers and partners. “It’s to give customers the choice, explained John Stankey. And to allow the industry to have this moment of transition.»What about the long term? “It is the customers who, in the end, will drive what happens in the market»Warns the CEO.
Get her out of Wonder Woman 1984 simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on December 25th led the studio to compensate Gal Gadot and the film’s key players to the tune of ten million dollars. Will the partners of the 17 films concerned by this measure, for the year 2021, be treated in the same way? Agents close to Warner told Hollywood Reporter that this would not be the case. But by doing a separate treatment for the teams of Wonder Woman, Warner opens the door to negotiations.
An operation in a vacuum that hinders
In addition to these questions, there are suspicions of influence peddling. The studio is accused of selling its films to HBO Max, its own streaming platform, whose launch was deemed unsuccessful despite its 8 million active subscribers. How much would Apple or Netflix have paid to acquire the rights to their films? Warner’s partners don’t know. Their lawyers would stand ready to sue the studio, according to Hollywood Reporter. Warner has reportedly already refused a check for $ 225 million from Netflix for the rights to Godzilla vs. Kong, whose release has been rescheduled for May 2021. Despite funding for the film up to 75%, the production company Legendary saw the sale blocked by Warner without being able to intervene. The announcement of the film’s release on HBO Max, in 2021, was then made without the company knowing what amount it would be offered. With an even heavier budget, Dune will likely experience the same treatment.