Hollywood fumes at WarnerMedia’s big HBO Max move, guilds and agencies start to speak out

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Hollywood is in upheaval after WarnerMedia blindsided filmmakers with the announcement that all of its studio's 2021 movies would stream on HBO Max the same day they open in theaters. Photo by MaxVT.

When WarnerMedia announced all of its 2021 movies would stream on HBO Max the same day they open in theaters, Hollywood was completely blindsided by the news. Now the industry is starting to speak out. 

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Christopher Nolan blasted Warner Bros., his longtime home studio, and called HBO Max the worst streaming service. 

The Directors Guild of America, which rarely gets involved in Hollywood squabbles, sent a strongly worded letter to Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff, demanding a meeting with her over the unilateral changes to the release plans for the studio’s 2021 slate of films.  

The powerful agency CAA sent a letter to WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar saying the surprise announcement was “entirely unacceptable to CAA and to the clients we represent.”

The WarnerMedia move now stands in stark contrast to Disney’s recently announced plans for its upcoming movies and series. Many of them will premiere on the streaming service Disney+, but the big ones will still open in theaters first, before going to streaming. The film “Raya and the Last Dragon” will open in theaters as well as be available for an additional $30 charge on Disney+ through a service called Disney Premier Access.  

Disney’s hybrid approach to theatrical windows is garnering a more positive reaction across the industry than the Warner Bros. bombshell.

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