WB's title dump on HBO Max might result in legal action from Legendary.
We reported last week that Warner Bros. would dump some of its most popular titles onto HBO Max in 2021 in a deal that would release them on the streamer for 30 days, while simultaneously putting them in theaters.
This was an unprecedented move that aimed to make HBO Max a more relevant streamer and position them for the future. It gave the company a boost in its stock and repositioned it in the market. It made its parent company, AT&T, very happy as well.
While Hollywood, in general, was split on whether this meant the end of theatrical or just a bump in the road, Legendary was assessing what to do next.
When you co-finance a blockbuster like Godzilla vs. Kong, you hope to get back the most bang for your buck. Traditionally, that comes from a robust theatrical market. I mean, Godzilla: King of the Monsters made $386,600,138 worldwide. Now, Deadline is reporting that Legendary is not happy at all with that being taken off the table.
Supposedly, it was thinking of dumping Godzilla onto Netflix, who would have paid $250 million for the privilege. HBO Max hasn't stated what it will pay to its co-financier.
And there's also no word on how this affects deals. If you wrote on or directed this movie, usually a theatrical release would give you a significant pay bump, but having it on HBO Max might negate that. Guilds are still trying to work that out.
And that's just one movie. Legendary is involved in a few titles in this deal. And Legendary and its partners provided 75% of the $165 million used to make Dune. How can the company recoup that investment?
What happens when the vaccine comes out? If people are all vaccinated by next summer, and the theaters are booming, will WB continue with its plans? I admit the vaccine talk is optimistic, but it's something to keep in mind, especially when this is such a seismic shift. We are talking about the global theatrical box office. Will the general public be safe to go to theaters on a global scale? Not just the U.S.?
Time will tell.
We will see what Legendary plans to do and keep you updated as we go.
Let us know what you think in the comments.