Tenet Director Christopher Nolan has reportedly voiced against Warner’s HBO’s 2021 release plans, citing them as a dismal streaming platform. Warner Bros’ 2021 year plan comes at a time of the most significant OTT surge the world has ever seen, owing to the coronavirus lockdowns across the globe. Due to the closure of theatres, OTT platforms like HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video have experienced an exponential increase in subscriptions. HBO Max plans to bank on this success and launch all its 2021 based theatre-releases on their streaming platforms itself.
Legendary Entertainment, WB’s production partners, are preparing for a lawsuit against this simultaneous decision. Directors and casts from crucial films of 2021 have expressed their anger at HBO’s Decision. In fact, Tenet, which saw the minimal crowd in the theatres due to the pandemic, will be launched at HBO Max soon. Considering the fact that this move should be appreciated as it covers losses of the film production, the case is totally the opposite. Famous faces like James Gunn, Jon M. Chu have stated that HBO’s streaming service is not up to the mark, and therefore, their upcoming films will face a worse hit than sparse theatre attendance.
Legendary Entertainments are grieving at the business side of things as Warner reportedly turned down a $250 million by Netflix for the latest version of Godzilla. Business instincts indeed suggest that HBO Max may never be able to gross the amount offered by Netflix, themselves. An OTT release for 2021 films will clearly suggest that actors and star casts will end up losing their hefty cuts. A theatrical release would have meant a bigger budget, higher payouts, and a dedicated promotional system. Therefore, some of the top stars have started asking for compensations to cover their losses if the films ended up on the streaming platform.
Theatre owners have heavily criticized such a decision by Warner and many other streaming platforms. US, UK, and Asia-based theatres have incurred huge losses during the pandemic, and launches at OTT would literally mean a business crash. Film business experts see the move by Warner as a petty one at a time when the pandemic is slowly coming to a gradual stop. Vaccine trials are underway, and therefore, and theatres should be given that extra bit of oxygen at such a critical time when their financial status is crippling.
It is not only ace director Nolan who has protested against this issue. Many other directors, casts, and production houses have raised voices about the vulnerable states of theatres and the transfer of theatrical releases to OTT platforms. This included the likes of AMC Pictures, Universal Studios, AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron, and many more.
Even though OTT has gained its audience and incurred surplus profits this fiscal year, the film industry’s status is not so good, looking at dismal film budgets, underpaid production units, and many other factors. Most importantly, countries in Asia do not have insurance policies for production units working during the pandemic, which, indeed, is shocking.