We recently revealed HERE the raft of Warners films that now go to 2021 HBO Max but many film makers were up in arms that their films would not get a theatrical release. Now many thought that this was due to the prestige of being seen on a big screen but it seems the real reason is not quite so altruistic. It seems that one of the big reasons for such a backlash is that various cast and crew rely on performance-based bonuses – a contract stipulation that guarantee a potential share of the film’s profit. Most famously it was 1989’s ‘Batman’ starring Jack Nicholson that bought home just how much of a earner this can be with the star purportedly taking home $50m .
Several stars willingly forgo a potentially higher wage or salary in exchange for such an arrangement as was the case with Andie McDowell on ‘Four Wedding and a Funeral’ meaning she earned more than Hugh Grant. So with films debuting on HBO Max streaming will eat into any potential box-office and lessens any back end earnings.
A recent report suggests that Warners are working on a deal for payments to filmmakers based partly on HBO Max streaming fees to “guarantee payment regardless of box-office sales and to increase the odds of performance-based bonuses.” Under the deal, HBO Max will pay Warner Bros. a “considerable” fee for the streaming movies for the planned 31-day window each, some of which would go to the production partners, filmmakers, casts and crews. The deal also halves the amount in box office sales that a film would need to hit before partners begin earning bonuses, and takes into account theater closures, pushing the threshold lower if cinemas are shut. To that end ”Godzilla vs. Kong” is reportedly at the heart of the negotiations.
Whether everyone will agree to this is unknown and several big film have their directors insisting on big screen releases but “Dune,” “The Matrix 4,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” and “The Conjuring 3,” are all films we really want to see in IMAX as per the recent UK release of ‘Wonder Woman 1984‘ before Lockdown3 shut everything down
Warner Bros. Pictures will need its day-and-date film release plans for HBO Max in 2021 to be a success as it’s going to cost them dear.