Warner Bros. Pictures is better off hoping that its movie release plans for HBO Max in 2021 will be successful, as it will apparently cost them.
The announcement of the arrangement surprised everyone and was quickly greeted with a backlash from Hollywood and those involved in the films themselves.
One of the main reasons for this backlash is that various cast and crew rely on performance-based bonuses, essentially contractual stipulations that guarantee a potential share of the film’s profits.
Some forgo a salary or potentially higher salary in exchange for such an arrangement, or have other deals in place where the box office is a factor in how much they get paid. Any film that makes its day-to-day streaming debut will eat away at any potential box office and thus jeopardize the chances of the compensation that has been promised to them.
Now, a new report in Bloomberg says the studio is working on agreements for new payments to filmmakers and their crews on these films, in part based on HBO Max streaming fees.
Warners is reportedly in the process of amending partner agreements to “guarantee payment regardless of box office sales and increase the chances of performance-based bonuses.” The recently reported deal on Legendary Entertainment’s “Godzilla vs. Kong” deal is reportedly at the heart of the negotiations.
As part of the deal, HBO Max will pay Warner Bros. a “substantial” fee for streaming movies for the scheduled 31-day window each, some of which will go to production partners, filmmakers, actors and crews.
The deal also cuts in half the amount of box office sales a film is expected to reach before partners start earning bonuses, and takes into account theatrical closures, lowering the threshold if theaters are closed.
It’s unclear at this time whether all of the filmmakers and production companies involved will agree to the new deal. Warner. plans to release seventeen films in 2021 via theaters and the service, including “Dune”, “The Matrix 4”, “Godzilla vs. Kong ”,“ The Conjuring 3 ”, the sequel to“ Space Jam ”and“ In the Heights ”.