When news arrived that Warner Bros. was releasing all their major 2021 films day-and-date on HBO Max, the film industry was shaken, but there was one challenger who wouldn’t back, Legendary. The co-financiers and co-producers of “Dune” and “Godzilla vs. Kong” were not at all happy with the news of their films not going to theaters, and threatened with legal action. Now, it seems like Godzilla will roar on their behalf, because the two companies are nearing a deal over the release of the latest kaiju film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a resolution to the “Godzilla vs. Kong” release is all but imminent. An agreement would mean that “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.” According to THR, “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.”
Now, if the film is still being released on HBO Max, then the likely answer is that Legendary is getting financial compensation for the reported 75 percent of the budget for “Godzilla vs. Kong” that Legendary financed. As THR points out, the reported $225 million-plus offer from Netflix to release the film on their platform effectively set the price for the film.
When it comes to Legendary’s other big 2021 film, “Dune,” it seems like negotiations are still ongoing. The problem with “Dune” is that releasing the film in theaters could set a precedent for other filmmakers to demand a similar treatment. THR notes that Lana Wachowski “is said to be adamant about an exclusive theatrical run” for “The Matrix 4.”