Warner Bros announced last week that it would make more releases simultaneously in theaters and HBO Max, but it could not happen with some titles like Dune or Godzilla vs Kong
Legendary producer of the Godzilla vs Kong and Dune films could take legal action against Warner Bros for simultaneously releasing their titles in theaters and HBO Max next year without first consulting them.
Legendary Entertainment is not happy with the decision of Warner Bros to release two of its titles in theaters and HBO Max at the same time and could take legal action against the company. The production company behind two of the most anticipated releases of 2021 that Warner Bros distributes, Godzilla vs. Kong and Dune was surprised by Warner’s announcement last week to release their next 2021 titles simultaneously both in theaters and on HBO Max in the US market (it remains to be seen when the conversion in Europe from HBO to HBO Max and if they finally carry out the same strategy in the European market).
This announcement has created some debate about this type of premieres, on the one hand, some users applaud this initiative because it allows them to choose where to see their favorite premieres and on the other hand the movie theaters that feel harmed by interest to promote a streaming platform even if that means losses for the producer of the affected films, including Legendary, a company that has not been amused by the decision, especially because, it seems that they found out about it, the same day that Warner Bros made the announcement.
This fact could lead to Lengendary taking legal action against the company to prevent the HBO Max releases of Godzilla vs. Kong and Dune.
As reported by Deadline, Legendary Entertainment, the company that co-produced and co-financed both Dune and Godzilla vs. Kong, can take legal action against WarnerMedia for the premiere of his films on HBO Max. Legendary will “send legal letters” to Warner Bros. to contest the release of its two films on the day and date, about which they were not consulted before the launch plan was announced on this platform.
Legendary certainly has every right to do so, as the company provided 75% of the net budget of Dune’s roughly $ 165 million and contributed a similar amount for Godzilla vs. Kong. Warner Bros. made its decision unilaterally without consulting its Legendary partners and without offering the option to turn to third-party alternatives like Netflix, which was willing to shell out more than $ 250 million for Godzilla vs. Kong before WarnerMedia blocked the deal.
Instead, Legendary said that WarnerMedia decided to go ahead with its 2021 day-and-date release plan, without consulting any other studios. Deadline also notes that at least three other films that were mostly funded by other studios could see their initial theatrical deals with the HBO Max option unravel.
Warner Media is sure to see even more losses with its HBO Max release plan – movies are guaranteed to lose money on these kinds of simultaneous releases in theaters and on the streaming service, putting producers like Legendary in a very tight spot. The HBO Max plan also raises issues with backend deals with filmmakers and cast members who typically earn bonuses based on box office performance. With Wonder Woman 1984, Warner Media is paying bonuses based on the projection that the film would have made a billion dollars at the box office, according to The Playlist. With movies like Godzilla vs. Kong and Dune, where the potential box office is unknown, it is unclear what Warner Bros. will do.