2020 has been a year of major changes for the film industry, and one of the biggest disruptors was WarnerMedia announcing that all their upcoming movies will be streaming on HBO Max at the same time as their theatrical release. Warner's decision has created huge divides within the industry, and it seems one of the first groups that the studio needed to convinced was the team behind Wonder Woman 1984, which is the first Warner movie that is part of the new release strategy.
According to a report by The New York Times, in the days leading up to the announcement of the new release strategy, Warner approached two of Hollywood's biggest talent agencies, William Morris Endeavor, which represents Wonder Woman 1984 lead Gal Gadot, and Creative Artists, which represents Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins.
The studio wanted to get Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins on board with simultaneously releasing their new movie in theaters and on HBO Max. The two agencies wanted to know how Warner intended to reimburse their clients for the profits lost from streaming Wonder Woman 1984, since the movie would have made a great deal more money for Gadot, Jenkins, and their respective agencies with a purely theatrical release.
"After a tense negotiation, Warner Bros., which is owned by AT&T, agreed that Ms. Gadot and Ms. Jenkins would each get more than $10 million, according to two people with knowledge of the deals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private agreements."
The strategy seemed to have worked, with Gadot and Jenkins taking to social media to voice their support for Wonder Woman 1984 releasing on HBO Max. But Warner's woes are far from over. Reportedly, their other clients, from actors to filmmakers, including Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Keanu Reeves now expect the same huge payday for their own movies that are going to be heading over to HBO Max in the coming days. Meanwhile, filmmaker Christopher Nolan, who has been working with Warner since 2002, openly blasted the studio for turning their focus to HBO Max instead of cinema halls.
"Some of our industry's biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service. Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker's work out everywhere, both in theaters and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak. They don't even understand what they're losing. Their decision makes no economic sense, and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction."
Directed and co-written by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal and Natasha Rothwell. The film arrives in theaters and HBO Max on December 25, while debuting theatrically in international markets starting on December 16. The film will be available for a month on HBO Max in the U.S. included at no additional cost. This news originated at nytimes.com.