Movies

Directors Guild Criticizes Warner Bros. Over HBO Max Deal

The Directors Guild of America has criticized Warner Bros. over the studio’s decision to release its entire 2021 theatrical slate simultaneously on the HBO Max streaming service, according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter.

DGA National Executive Director Russell Hollander sent a letter to Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff demanding a meeting to address issues with the plan, specifically about how films that are streamed will be valued, sources told THR. The letter from the DGA referenced a 2019 meeting with Sarnoff to that issue.

The DGA, which has more than 18,000 members, has declined to comment. SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America have not commented on the Warner Bros. announcement last week that all 17 of its 2021 titles — including the fourth “Matrix,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Godzilla v. Kong,” “Dune” and “In the Heights” — would debut on HBO Max immediately upon their theatrical release as parent company WarnerMedia faces the prospect of moviegoers continuing to shun theaters next year.

Hollywood has been blindsided by the move, which came two weeks after Warner Bros. announced that it would release “Wonder Woman 1984” simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on Dec. 25. Christopher Nolan, director of the Warner Bros. films “Tenet” and the Batman trilogy, was sharply critical.

“There’s such controversy around it, because they didn’t tell anyone,” said Nolan in an ET Online interview. “It’s very, very, very, very messy. A real bait and switch. Yeah, it’s sort of not how you treat filmmakers and stars and people who, these guys have given a lot for these projects. They deserved to be consulted and spoken to about what was going to happen to their work.”

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