Late last year, Warner Bros. made history by announcing their upcoming 2021 theatrical slate would also be going straight to HBO Max on the same day said films were intended to hit theaters. It was a bold, game-changing move – and it was met with immediate resistance. Because as it turns out, the folks at Warners had neglected to inform the filmmakers and actors involved with their upcoming movies of the decision.
Legendary Pictures, which has an agreement to co-produce and co-finance films with Warner Bros., was perhaps the loudest voice against the idea, claiming they were very upset that upcoming Legendary/WB films Godzilla vs. Kong and Dune would be released in this matter. There was even talk of legal action. Now, a report indicates that Warner Bros. and Legendary are close to reaching a deal regarding Godzilla vs. Kong, but negotiations involving Dune are ongoing.
The story about potential legal action involving Warner Bros. and Legendary surfaced in December 2020, indicating that Legendary planned to “send legal letters to Warner Bros. to challenge the day-and-date release of its two films, on which Legendary wasn’t consulted before the unprecedented streaming release plan was announced.” The film production company was particularly angry with the studio over plans to release Godzilla vs. Kong and Dune to HBO Max. And Dune filmmaker Denis Villeneuve even writing an article for Variety in which he angrily stated: “With this decision, AT&T has hijacked one of the most respectable and important studios in film history. There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience here.”
According to a new article from THR, the negotiations between Legendary and WB over Dune are ongoing, but a resolution regarding Godzilla vs. Kong is apparently imminent. As THR states, “An agreement means the parties are close to averting a potential legal confrontation over Warner Media’s surprise decision to put its entire 2021 slate on its HBO Max streamer on the same date that the films open in theaters.” They also add that “The movie will keep its May 21 release date in theaters, including IMAX, as well as HBO Max. Legendary will release the film in China.”
If the movie is still hitting HBO Max, just what’s being resolved here? The answer: money. Legendary is likely set to get a bigger payday because of this situation. But what of Dune? That remains a trickier question. It also puts Warners in a tough spot, because if Legendary and those involved with Dune want to fight against the HBO Max release, and WB relents, it’s going to set a precedent, and other 2021 WB films may want similar treatment. For instance, the THR story indicates that The Matrix 4 director Lana Wachowski is “adamant about an exclusive theatrical run” for the film, which is currently slated to hit HBO Max on December 22, 2021.
Godzilla vs. Kong is just a few short weeks away from stomping into theaters and tearing into HBO Max. As the hype train continues to speed onward, Warner Bros. Pictures has released a handful of new Godzilla vs. Kong posters, including a couple flashy international one-sheets. The titans are clearly ready for battle.
First up, let’s start with the weakest poster of the bunch. Though it feels like a design that echoes promotional banners for actual boxing matches or UFC fights, the design just feels a little too simple for a blockbuster of this magnitude. Thankfully, there’s a pair of much better posters with the monsters preparing to square-off.
Each of the posters presents the impending battle from a different perspective. While the large hand of Kong hangs on one, the claw of Godzilla dangles on the other. Each opponent stand in the distance poised for this fight that will undoubtedly wreck many of the buildings surrounding them.
Finally, two Chinese posters bring the visual spectacle to life. Though Godzilla and Kong are clearly ready for battle, they’re in two entirely different locations. As Godzilla stands among a neon cityscape, Kong stand in some kind of strange environment with falling rocks, upside down mountains, glowing topography, and a winged monster flying in the background. He’s also holding a glowing axe that looks like it could be one of Godzilla’s back spikes. Perhaps that’s an important detail?
Legends collide in Godzilla vs. Kong as these mythic adversaries meet in a spectacular battle for the ages, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe. The epic clash between the two titans—instigated by unseen forces—is only the beginning of the mystery that lies deep within the core of the Earth.
Godzilla vs. Kong arrives in theaters and on HBO Max (for 31 days) starting on March 31, 2021.
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