Directors such as Denis Villeneuve, John Chu and James Gunn are reportedly unhappy with the studio’s decision to send their films to HBO Max.
For a long time now, Warner Bros has been known as the most filmmaker-friendly of the big studios, often building up decades-long, fruitful partnerships with directors appreciative of the studio’s support. That reputation seems to have been thrown into grave doubt over the course of a week, as increasing numbers of high-profile filmmakers are reportedly upset with the studio’s decision to port its entire 2021 slate of films over to the HBO Max streaming service, as well as offering a simultaneous theatrical release.
With Christopher Nolan – who has enjoyed a two decade partnership with Warner Bros – having already publicly denounced the studio for its decision, several more of its highest-profile creatives are reportedly unhappy too.
Denis Villeneuve, director of the upcoming reimagining of the science fiction classic, Dune, is said to be upset that his grand cinematic vision may, by many, only be witnessed on the tiniest of screens. Villeneuve is one of the most cinematic directors working today and it’s hard to argue with his point if you’ve seen the beautiful trailer for the film on a cinema screen.
Likewise, John Chu, who reportedly turned down a massive Netflix offer to ensure his new film – In The Heights – secured a theatrical release, is said to be similarly upset, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
James Gunn, director of The Suicide Squad is also said to be peeved, particularly with the studio’s offer of financial recompense.
Directors like Gunn, who stood to make huge amounts of money via theatrical back-end profit participation deals, now find themselves forced to renegotiate their terms, with Warner Bros reportedly not offering to match what they believe they are worth. Gunn in particular is believed to be upset that Patty Jenkins, the director of Wonder Woman 1984, was given advance notice of the decision and was negotiated with before the choice was made. Gunn, and others, were apparently not.
This story looks set to continue, and it will be interesting to see if any other directors break cover and speak publicly as Nolan has. We’ll keep you informed as we hear more.
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