When Warner Bros. made the decision to put all of their 2021 movies on HBO Max and in theaters, it was not exactly a popular decision. There has been pushback from all aspects of the industry, from theaters to directors to actors. Late last month, we got word from Sony Pictures that they have had more people reaching out to work with them over Warner Bros. because Sony remains committed to the theatrical model. John Stephens, the outgoing CFO of WarnerMedia parent AT&T, defended the decision according to Deadline even though there has been that pushback.
"We've got a long history of working with the talent and will continue to work with them. I think we've got a reputation that goes [back] decades. Warner Bros. studio in particular, it's just decades and decades, almost a hundred years," he said at a virtual media conference Tuesday when asked about the risk of a talent drain to rival studios that have taken a different approach. "This is a unique situation" he said, with the pandemic shuttering or reducing capacity at theaters globally "and we can't change that, that is just the reality. So we are trying to keep this system moving healthily forward and to utilizing the great content that is already there."
Stephens said that Warner Bros.'s relationship with theaters is important, but COVID-19 has presented challenges. They believe that the hybrid release model is the best way to help Warner Bros. keep the lights on but theaters as well.
The relationship with theaters is "an important relationship," he said. "But it is having challenges so we are trying to use these valuable pieces of content in the best way we can in coordination with the theaters, and with HBO Max, we feel good about utilizing this in the best way we can and we'll see how it goes. We are excited for it. We are positive about it."
So it sounds like Warner Bros. still isn't backing down despite all of the pushback. There still isn't any legal action from Legendary over the release of Dune and Godzilla vs. Kong, but that will probably end up happening. The first of the 2021 slate comes out later this month, and reportedly, Warner Bros. was trying to placate the three big stars of The Little Things. Warner Bros. is still sticking to their guns, and the fallout from this might not make itself known for another year or two.
Summary: Fast forward to the 1980s as Wonder Woman's next big-screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Max Lord and The Cheetah.
Wonder Woman 1984, directed by Patty Jenkins, stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Connie Nielsen, and Gabriella Wilde. It was released on December 25th in theaters and on HBO Max.