The fallout from the HBO Max/Warner Bros. decision continues to play havoc on the entertainment industry. Now that the first hybrid release is out, we're going to see how things are going to go from here and whether or not Warner Bros. decides to fully dig in their feet concerning this decision. For now, we're starting to see other studios react. Disney seems more committed to the theatrical model, but they did move a few of their releases to streaming only and are giving Raya and the Last Dragon a hybrid release. Universal has deals with AMC and Cinemark to shorten the theatrical window to seventeen days, and Paramount seems keener to sell off its mid-tier to streaming services. As for Sony, they decided to just delay pretty much everything to 2021. Sony Pictures chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra recently did an interview with CNBC (via IndieWire), and he said he's seen a boom of talent interested in working with the studio because they are committed to the theatrical model.
"After the Warner Bros announcement, it's been a bit of a boom for us because it's made dating our movies next year somewhat easier," Vinciquerra said. "But the real benefit has been the number of incoming calls from talent, creators, actors, and directors to us saying, 'We want to be doing business with you because we know you're a theatrical distributor and producer.' That has worked very well for us."
Sony delayed most of their big players, but they did sell some things to streaming services, with the biggest one being Greyhound, which went to AppleTV for a reported $70 million. Despite that sale and what the other studies are doing, Vinciquerra says that Sony isn't planning on making any big changes when it comes to the theatrical model in a post-COVID world.
"We're not changing course to any big degree," Vinciquerra said. "We do think windows will become much more flexible and we're thankful for that. We think that's good for the industry and a good thing for our films. Some movies will do better with a short window and some movies will do better with a much longer window."
Sony reaping the benefits of a bunch of angry filmmakers and talent seems like it could be something that happens to other studios as well, and it's going to be interesting to see who takes advantage of it. As for Warner Bros. and HBO Max, there are serious rumblings that Legendary is going to take them to court for Dune and Godzilla vs. Kong. If Warner wants to keep the latter, they might have to shell out up to $250 million, which is the reported offering that Netflix made for the movie. Legendary financed 75% of Dune and Godzilla vs. Kong so they could have a leg to stand up when it comes to blocking them appearing on HBO Max. As always, we'll be watching to see what happens with this decision.