Warner Bros. has seemingly been struggling to wrangle enough subscribers to make HBO Max as much of a success as it needs to be to offset the investment they have put into it. It doesn't help that many of their most popular movies have frequently been removed from the platform due to preexisting licensing deals with other streaming services or networks.
While Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins never excluded the possibility of Wonder Woman 1984 from being released on HBO Max, she only said that it wouldn't be exclusively released on the platform and that the theatrical experience was still important to her. It made it a tad awkward when, just a month later, Warner Bros. would announce that Wonder Woman 1984 would release on HBO Max concurrently with its release in theaters.
It was shocking to see Warner Bros. suddenly announce that their entire film slate for 2021 will have a similar release as Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max. James Gunn, the writer-director behind the upcoming The Suicide Squad, is reportedly unhappy with the sudden change in release for his Suicide Squad sequel.
According to Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter, James Gunn was reportedly said to be “not pleased” with this sudden announcement and Warner Bros.' attempt at paying him and others for The Suicide Squad.
“Sources say even Suicide Squad director James Gunn, who is platform-agnostic, was not pleased when the studio followed its shocking announcement by floating a lackluster formula for compensating him and other profit participants in the film.”
WHAT THIS MEANS
This situation appears to be a total mess on the part of Warner Bros., as it has caused nothing but confusion and contempt from many of their longtime collaborators, including Christopher Nolan, who spoke publicly about his contempt for this sudden about-face from Warner Bros., even calling the Warner Media-owned HBO Max “the worst streaming service.”
Despite the inevitable damage that this strategy will do to theaters, especially smaller ones, it is one more way to help prevent any potential spreading of the coronavirus, as the likelihood of the virus being eradicated by next year are slim when a vaccine won't be freely available until months into 2021. However, it was incredibly erroneous on the part of Warner Bros. to not consult seemingly anyone outside a very small circle about this huge and drastic change in release strategy.
At the very least, hopefully, The Suicide Squad gets a similar treatment to Wonder Woman 1984 and will be released in 4K Ultra HD on HBO Max.