- Warner Bros. is working on deals for new payments to filmmakers and their crews, based partly on HBO Max streaming fees, according to multiple reports.
- The deals would "increase the odds of performance-based bonuses" for box office sales, Bloomberg reported Saturday.
- Legendary Entertainment's "Godzilla vs. Kong," is at the heart of the current negotiations, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
- "I strongly believe the future of cinema will be on the big screen, no matter what any Wall Street dilettante says," Denis Villeneuve, director of "Dune," wrote on Variety in December.
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Warner Bros. is agreeing to new payment structures for filmmakers and their crews based in part on HBO Max streaming fees, according to multiple reports.
The studio in December surprised Hollywood by announcing that its entire 2021 line-up would be released on its HBO Max streaming service. The movies, including "The Matrix 4," "Space Jam: A New Legacy," and "Dune," will hit theaters on the same days as their streaming debuts.
Now, Warner Bros. is in the process of altering deals with partners to "guarantee payment regardless of box-office sales and to increase the odds of performance-based bonuses," Bloomberg reported Saturday.
Those bonuses have traditionally been linked to box office success. There are several movies on Warner Bros.'s 2021 release list that would have been considered tentpoles if they were released into theaters more traditionally.
Legendary Entertainment's "Godzilla vs. Kong," is at the heart of the negotiations, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Forbes reported that film had a monster budget of about $180 million, while The Hollywood Reporter said it was closer to $200 million. It would be expected to earn more than that if released exclusively in theaters. It's a sequel to "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" and "Kong: Skull Island," which earned $387 million and $567 million, respectively, in theaters worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.
Legendary had attempted to sell "Godzilla vs. Kong" to Netflix for $225 million, but Warner Bros. stopped the deal, according to Forbes. Now, it seems Warner Bros. and Legendary might make a deal.
Under the deal, HBO Max would pay Warner Bros. a fee for the streaming movies, some of which would go to the movies' production partners, filmmakers, casts and crews, according to Bloomberg.
The deal would also cut in half the amount in box office sales that a film would need to hit before partners begin earning bonuses, according to Bloomberg.
It's unclear from the reports whether all filmmakers and production companies involved with Warner Bros.'s 2021 releases will agree to the new deal.
"Dune" director Denis Villeneuve, for example, wrote a scathing essay in Variety after the HBO Max announcement. He said the decision by AT&T, the corporate parent of Warner Bros., was a "sacrifice."
"I strongly believe the future of cinema will be on the big screen, no matter what any Wall Street dilettante says," Villeneuve wrote.