Legendary Entertainment is not ruling out a lawsuit against Warner Bros. over the studio's plan to release "Dune" and "Godzilla vs. Kong" on HBO Max at the same time that the films come out in theatres.
Legendary financed a significant portion of the two movies and so should be privy to any deals concerning their release. On the contrary, according to Variety, the production company was "largely kept out of the loop" that the films are bound for the streaming service.
According to the outlet, Legendary Entertainment "is hoping to first negotiate a more generous deal, but isn't taking legal action off the table should the two companies fail to come to a compromise." Warner Bros. can avoid any legal charges if they buy the films outright from the company.
"No legal challenge has been filed yet, but a suit could materialise early this week. It's unclear what legal grounds Legendary would use to challenge the decision, though it would likely involve some breach of contract," the publication noted.
The studio's plans also angered director Christopher Nolan, who called HBO Max the "worst streaming service." He said the decision "makes no economic sense, and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction."
"Some of our industry's biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service," Nolan said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter.
Likewise, "Dune" director Denis Villeneuve is disappointed after he was assured of a traditional, theatrical release for the initial screening of the two-part film. It is unclear if the planned sequel will follow the same route.
Warner Bros.' entire 2021 slate will include films that have yet to come out in cinemas. This is aside from "Dune" and "Godzilla vs. Kong" which have production costs of about $175 million and $160 million, respectively. "The Matrix 4," "In the Heights," and "The Suicide Squad" will debut both in HBO Max and in theatres. "Wonder Woman 1984" will also arrive both on the streaming service and in theatres on Christmas.