A new report from The Hollywood Reporter suggests that WarnerMedia and Warner Bros. Pictures may avoid an incoming lawsuit from production partner Legendary Entertainment as they’re nearing a new distribution deal for Godzilla vs Kong and possibly Dune as well.
Last year, it was announced by WarnerMedia they would be throwing the 17 feature films from their 2021 slate on HBO Max with a day-and-deal model, allowing HBO Max subscribers to view new releases exclusively on the streaming service for a month. This led to backlash as none of the filmmakers, talent or production partners like Legendary were informed about the decision in a timely manner ahead of the public announcement.
Godzilla vs Kong will keep it’s theatrical release on May 21 with Legendary handling the distribution in China, the company has Chinese ownership and makes sense they’d want to tackle the local roll-out. It also seems to be heading to HBO Max.
Legendary is still negotiating with talent on Godzilla but that is not expected to derail a deal. The movie will keep its May 21 release date in theaters, including IMAX, as well as HBO Max. Legendary will release the film in China.
Legendary along with Dune director Denis Villeneuve had voiced their opposition as the studio has reportedly sided with Denis as they rallied against WarnerMedia’s announcement. It’s pointed out the film could end up landing a theatrical window and another hiccup has been revealed as WarnerMedia may have used Dune “images” to promote HBO Max without permission from Legendary.
According to a source, conversations regarding various theatrical windowing approaches are ongoing and it remains unclear which option will be acceptable to Villeneuve. Another potential issue: It appears Warners may have been using Dune images to promote its streaming service without approval.
They also hypothesize that other filmmakers like Matrix 4 director Lana Wachowski could also demand theatrical window, like Villeneuve, that could help dissolve the day-and-date model for bigger films.
If Warners gives Dune an exclusive release, that could set a precedent allowing others, such as Matrix 4 filmmaker Lana Wachowski, to demand similar treatment. As talks continue, it is unclear whether Warner Media will be able to hold the line on its day-and-date strategy to bolster its streaming service. Wachowski is said to be adamant about an exclusive theatrical run.
SOURCE: THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER