Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” earned $8.6 million at the US box office over the weekend in its debut (and $26 million worldwide), a disappointing total even amid the pandemic for a Disney animated movie – more so considering Warner Bros.’ “Tom and Jerry” earned $14 million the weekend prior.
“There is always a spotlight and high expectations placed on any Disney release, but ‘Raya’ entered a marketplace that already had two PG-rated animated films, ‘Tom & Jerry’ and ‘Croods 2,'” said Paul Dergarabedian, the Comscore senior media analyst.
There’s a couple more factors that could have contributed to the movie’s underwhelming performance. Notably, it didn’t play at Cinemark venues and some other chains because they didn’t reach a licensing deal with Disney (it did play at AMC). The movie played on around 400 fewer screens than “Tom and Jerry” did in its opening weekend.
“In the current operating environment, we are making near-term booking decisions on a discrete, film-by-film basis, focusing on the long-term benefit of exhibitors, studios, and moviegoers,” Cinemark told Deadline. “While we are having conversations with The Walt Disney Company, we have not yet reached agreeable licensing terms for ‘Raya and the Last Dragon.'”
“[Theaters] need Disney a lot more than Disney needs them right now,” said Jeff Bock, the Exhibitor Relations senior media analyst. “Hopefully a deal will be worked out for the sake of theatrical exhibition.”
The movie also debuted on Disney Plus simultaneously with theaters at an additional “Premier Access” $30 fee for subscribers. In contrast, “Tom and Jerry” is available on HBO Max for no additional cost.
“$30 for a family of 4 is still a very good deal for blockbuster entertainment,” Bock said.
We don’t know exactly how “Raya and the Last Dragon” performed on Disney Plus. The first movie Disney utilized the Premier Access strategy with, last year’s live-action “Mulan” remake, performed well enough that Disney promised to experiment with it on other titles. “Raya and the Last Dragon” was No. 4 in Disney Plus’ “trending” category on Monday, behind Marvel’s “WandaVision,” “The Simpsons,” and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” (though it’s unclear how Disney calculates this list).
Bock said that we’ll know how successful the movie was on Disney Plus if Disney implements a similar strategy with upcoming tentpole releases still slated for theaters, like “Black Widow” and “Cruella.”
But even though the “Raya and the Last Dragon” underperformed, the US box office earned a total of $25 million over the weekend, giving analysts reason to be hopeful for the future of the theatrical industry.
It was down 76% compared to the same weekend last year, Bock said. But when compared to the average of a 90% decrease since theaters reopened in August, it’s a noticeable improvement.
New York City movie theaters reopened on Friday at limited capacity, which likely gave the box office a slight boost.
“The bottom line is that while the film’s debut may not have been as strong as some might have hoped, it was a building block in one of the top-grossing overall weekends since the movie-theater shutdown in mid-March [last year],” Dergarabedian said.
To find out which movies film critics have been collectively hated the most, Insider turned to the reviews aggregator Metacritic to compile this list of the most critically panned movies in history.
From ill-advised sequels like “Scary Movie 5” and “Caddyshack II,” to two dubious political documentaries by conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, these films drew the ire of critics and provoked the repulsion of many.
Most recently, 2019’s critically panned “Haunting of Sharon Tate,” starring Hilary Duff, made the list, as did “Grizzly II: Revenge,” which was originally filmed in 1983 but didn’t debut until this year.
Here are the 75 worst movies of all time, according to critics:
Note: Only movies with seven or more online reviews appear in the ranking, so it skews toward more recent films.
John Lynch contributed to a previous version of this post.
What critics said: “Only old pros James Brolin and Jane Seymour, as Eva’s colorfully squabbling parents, occasionally rouse the film beyond its fate as fodder for a Snuggie-wrapped slumber.” — Time Out
What critics said: “Filling in for Eddie Murphy in a septically humored kiddie sequel to ‘Daddy Day Care,’ Gooding gives a mug-job performance that consists mainly of reacting (again and again) to nasty smells.” — Entertainment Weekly
What critics said: “The movie is simply not professional. It’s not, even by the lowest standards of Republic B-westerns in the ’30s or bad, cheap horror films in the ’50s, releasable.” — The Washington Post
What critics said: “While the original was no classic, it had a few mild laughs and the plus-sized actor displayed a certain buffoonish charm. Such is not the case with this painfully unfunny, slapdash follow-up in which the title character is so relentlessly obnoxious that you’ll be cheering for the villains.” — The Hollywood Reporter
What critics said: “The confusion it mistakes for true soul-searching is about as realistic a look at the politics of youthful attraction as one of those ‘Did somebody say McDonald’s?’ commercials is a look at mainstream American family values. Did somebody say McCheese?” — Austin Chronicle
61. “Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood” (1988)
What critics said: “Only a mote of humor graces the film, and that is Jason’s cunning ability to come up with ever more dreadful weapons for each successive crime, graduating from stake to machete to circular saw. Dare we hope, in Part VIII, for a neutron bomb to obliterate the series altogether?” — Chicago Tribune
What critics said: “Burt Reynolds and a host of notable performers seem to be having a hell of a good time wandering through this meandering, episodic farce, but rarely is their good mood shared by the viewer.” — TV Guide
What critics said: “Unfortunately this isn’t even half as fun as the shortest bumper-car ride, with the cast lost in a sea of unfunny situations and badly executed antique jokes on loan from The Munsters all obviously puzzled about why they are actually there.” — Empire
What critics said: “Aside from the waste of a talented cast, the only thing that really caught my attention was the tomblike silence of the audience–at least until the bong jokes started.” — Chicago Reader
What critics said: “There isn’t a scene in ‘Cocktail’ that isn’t cheap and dumb, and whether its camp entertainment value compensates for its contempt for women is a question. ‘Cocktail’ makes beer commercials look deep, makes ‘Top Gun’ look like ‘Hamlet.'” — Boston Globe
What critics said: “This failed epic — really, an epic failure — would barely be noticed, were it not for former Oscar-winner Nicolas Cage taking on a ‘Sharknado’-quality remake of a Kirk Cameron movie.” — New York Daily News
What critics said: “A work so completely devoid of wit, style, intelligence or basic entertainment value that it makes that movie based on the Angry Birds app seem like a pure artistic statement by comparison.” — RogerEbert.com
What critics said: “The individual scenes are just random, uninspired riffs by Carvey or awkwardly flat cameos by the likes of Jesse Ventura and Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson.” — New York Daily News
What critics said: “Generic hip-hop soundtrack? Check. Aerial stock footage of milieu? Check. Hardy-har homophobia and misogyny? Check. Emasculated sub-Gump white dude played by Jay Mohr? Double check.” — Entertainment Weekly
What critics said: “This terrible attempt at a political thriller for the religious right is aimed not at Christians in general but at a certain breed of them, the kind who feel as if the rest of the world were engaged in a giant conspiracy against their interpretation of good and truth.” — The New York Times
What critics said: “It’s an oddity that will be avoided by millions of people, this new Pinocchio. Osama bin Laden could attend a showing in Times Square and be confident of remaining hidden.” — The New York Times
What critics said: “The shamelessly rehashed Death Wish II finds Kersey in L.A., methodically hunting down those responsible for his daughter’s death (just as she’s recovering from her assault in the first Death Wish).” — EW
What critics said: “Unplanned isn’t a good movie, but it’s effective propaganda — or, at least, it is if you belong to the group it’s targeting: those who believe that abortion in America, though a legal right, is really a crime. It’s hard to imagine the movie drawing many viewers outside that self-selected demographic.” — Variety
36. “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” (1995)
What critics said: “The level of intelligence of the screenplay of ‘Saturn 3’ is shockingly low – the story is so dumb it would be laughed out of any junior high school class in the country – and yet the movie was financed. Why?” — Chicago Sun-Times
What critics said: “The movie’s so slipshod and half-assed that I almost feel for Rand, whose ideas have proved enduring enough that they at least deserve a fair representation, if only for the sake of refutation.” — Village Voice
What critics said: “Gamely alternates between unfunny gay jokes and violent pratfalls for a good 80 minutes, finding time for not one, but two musical dance numbers set to ‘I Will Survive.'” — The AV Club
What critics said: “It is not a compliment to suggest that a demonically possessed piece of machinery embarked on a bloodthirsty rampage has more personality than most of the flesh-and-blood characters in ‘The Mangler,’ a horror movie based on a Stephen King story.” — The New York Times
22. “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” (2019)
User score: 2.9/10
What critics said: “A run-of-the-mill home invasion thriller, and while Farrands is a solid genre craftsman — as evidenced by his similarly creepy true-crime film from earlier this year, The Amityville Murders — his taste remains suspect.” — Los Angeles Times
What critics said: “Featuring unlikeable characters, preposterously contrived plotting, ham-fisted dialogue and strained attempts at poeticism, Among Ravens is a misfire on every level.” — The Hollywood Reporter
What critics said: “‘Caddyshack II,’ a feeble follow-up to the 1980 laff riot, is lamer than a duck with bunions, and dumber than grubs. It’s patronizing and clumsily manipulative, and top banana Jackie Mason is upstaged by the gopher puppet.” — The Washington Post
What critics said: “So stupefyingly hideous that after watching it, you’ll need to bathe in 10 gallons of disinfectant, get a full-body scrub and shampoo with vinegar to remove the scummy residue that remains.” — The Washington Post
10. “The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)” (2015)
What critics said: “Sure to appear in everyone’s worst-of lists at year’s end, to say nothing of a few bad dreams, Bryan Johnson’s Vulgar is an unclassifiably awful study in self- and audience-abuse.” — Village Voice
What critics said: “‘The Singing Forest’ was written and directed by Jorge Ameer, whose film ‘Strippers’ opened three years ago and remained the single worst movie I had ever reviewed — until now.” — The New York Times
What critics said: “Imagine parents sitting in the audience with their naughty children (who used their Cabbage Patch dolls as driveway obstructions for their Big Wheel obstacle courses) and feeling ruefully double-crassed.” — Slant
What critics said: “As propaganda, ‘United Passions’ is as subtle as an anvil to the temple. As drama, it’s not merely ham-fisted, but pork-shouldered, bacon-wristed, and sausage-elbowed.” — Village Voice
What critics said: “The sheer ineptitude of the movie is supposed to be funny, but there’s no lunacy behind it: Shore and his writers are like comedians on Prozac, smiling through the fart jokes without a hint of desperation.” — The New Yorker
What critics said: “D’Souza fans and Trump apologists will flock to this, misguided moths to a misleading flame. In that way, it’s a perfect representation of the current climate. In every other way, it’s a mess.” — Arizona Republic
Warner Bros.’ superhero sequel debuted simultaneously in theaters and on Max on December 25. Viewers in the US spent 2.25 billion minutes watching it that weekend, topping other streaming titles on platforms that Nielsen measures (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and Hulu). Max isn’t available internationally and Nielsen only measures US viewership.
It’s an impressive accomplishment considering Nielsen measures minutes watched, which gives long-running TV shows like “The Office” an advantage (the series was watched for 1.4 billion minutes the week of December 21 to December 27).
“Wonder Woman 1984” is about 45 minutes longer than “Soul,” but Disney Plus has almost double the subscribers as Max does in the US. Disney Plus has 87 million subscribers worldwide and Rich Greenfield, an analyst with research firm Lightshed Partners, estimates 33 million of those are in the US.
It’s good news for Max, as Warner Bros. plans to release all of its 2021 movies in theaters and on Max simultaneously, as it did with “Wonder Woman 1984,” amid the pandemic. The movies will stream for 31 days before leaving Max for an exclusive theatrical run.
“Wonder Woman 1984” isn’t faring as well at the box office, though. The movie has $148 million globally and $37 million in the US. It cost $200 million to produce.
Pixar’s “Soul” had a huge opening weekend on Disney Plus last month.
Viewers in the US spent 1.67 billion minutes watching the movie the week of December 21 to December 27 (it premiered on the streaming service on Friday, December 25), according to Nielsen. It topped the research company’s latest list of top streaming titles released on Friday, which accounts for Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video.
The movie’s viewership is impressive considering that Nielsen measures minutes watched in the US, which gives TV shows, especially long-running ones like “The Office,” an advantage. Even more impressive is that the data only accounts for the movie’s first weekend of release, meaning that plenty of Disney Plus’ 87 million subscribers watched it when it premiered.
Disney did not immediately return a request for comment.
“The Office,” which has nearly 200 episodes, landed at No. 2 on Nielsen’s latest list with 1.4 billion minutes watched. The list accounted for the popular sitcom’s final full week on Netflix before it left for NBCUniversal’s Peacock at the end of 2020.
“Soul’s” performance bodes well for Disney Plus as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the theatrical industry.
Disney decided to forgo a theatrical release in favor of making it available on Disney Plus at no additional fee to subscribers, unlike last year’s “Mulan” remake, which Disney charged an additional $30 fee for when it first debuted on the service. Disney has plans to release more movies directly to Disney Plus, such as the animated “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
Questions still linger over what Disney will do with its major tentpole releases, particularly “Black Widow,” which is currently dated for theatrical release in May. Other studios have already started to delay (again) several major movies this week, including the James Bond movie “No Time to Die.”
At age 50, Shonda Rhimes has already created a legacy.
The success of her production company Shondaland’s show “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC made Rhimes the first Black woman to showrun a successful primetime drama on a broadcast network. But that was only the beginning. Her following hit shows “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder” brought Rhimes into the cultural lexicon with #TGIT (“Thank God It’s Thursday”), dubbed as such because of how Rhimes’ shows dominated TV’s Thursday night primetime line-up.
In 2017, she ended her contract early with ABC, trading in her $10 million base salary for a four-year deal with Netflix worth an estimated $150 million, per The New York Times. Three years later, her first Netflix show, “Bridgerton,” debuted on Christmas to much hype.
It’s all made Rhimes one of the highest-paid showrunners in TV, with Forbes estimating her net worth at $135 million. A representative for Rhimes didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment regarding Rhimes’ net worth and spending.
From buying the “Grey’s Anatomy” cast vacations to snapping up properties around Los Angeles, here’s how Rhimes spends her millions.
With an estimated net worth of $135 million, Shonda Rhimes is one of the wealthiest women in TV.
Her TV career launched in 2003 when ABC picked up “Grey’s Anatomy,” which garnered 20 million viewers by the end of its first season. It made Rhimes the first Black woman showrunnner of a successful primetime drama on a broadcast network, Forbes reports.
In recent years, Rhimes has ventured into other forms of media. In 2015, she published a memoir, “Year of Yes,” which became a New York Times bestseller. At the time it was announced, Rhimes joked “Simon and Schuster is crazy for giving me a book deal, as I am clearly in no position to be handing out wisdom.”
Details about the value of the book deal, including any advance Rhimes might have been paid by the publisher, were not made publicly available.
At Elle Magazine’s 2018 Women in Hollywood celebration, Rhimes said she’s the highest-paid showrunner in Hollywood, but an April 2019 Observer ranking put her at No. 4 behind Greg Berlanti, Ryan Murphy, and Mike Schur. Regardless, Rhimes is clearly pocketing some of TV’s biggest paychecks.
But Rhimes still has several residences in the area, like the 1920s Spanish-style duplex she bought in 2007 for $1.66 million and the English country manor house she purchased in 2017 for $4.6 million.
But she’s previously said her happy place is with her daughters. She adopted Harper and Emerson in 2002 and 2012, respectively, and had Beckett in 2013 via a surrogate. She said they help boost her creativity.
She’s also a generous boss. Rhimes once bought everyone in the “Grey’s Anatomy” cast and crew a vacation to a luxury resort as a gift for the show’s 350th episode, “Grey’s” actor Kevin McKidd revealed in a “Live with Kelly and Ryan” interview in November 2019.
While Rhimes has a few splurges, they’re not atypical from any other celebrity. Her less than lavish lifestyle might be due to her humble upbringing.
“When I was a struggling graduate student in film school, I often had no money,” she said in a commencement speech at Dartmouth, her undergrad alma mater. “And so I often had to choose between wine and things like toilet paper. Steak did not even enter into the equation.”
The movie’s debut weekend was a slow one across the board for China, whose theatrical industry has otherwise started to rebound after being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic (the Chinese box office has even surpassed North America as the world’s biggest this year). The Chinese movie “The Rescue” also fell below projections with $36 million last weekend.
But this weekend was different, as the Hong Kong action movie “Shock Wave 2” earned $64.5 million in China and the Chinese fantasy movie “Dream of Eternity” grossed $39 million. Yet “Wonder Woman 1984” continued to flounder in the region.
“Wonder Woman 1984” fared better in its debut in US theaters over the weekend. It made $16.7 million, the best opening since the pandemic began, but a sign that US movie theaters are far from a full recovery. 2017’s “Wonder Woman” earned $103 million in its opening weekend in the US. It ultimately grossed $822 million worldwide, $90.5 million of which came from China.
“Wonder Woman 1984” debuted simultaneously on WarnerMedia’s streaming service HBO Max in the US over the weekend (it’s not available internationally yet). WarnerMedia said on Sunday that nearly half of its retail subscribers (those who subscribe directly to Max rather than through a cable provider) watched the movie on its first day on Friday, but didn’t provide specific viewership numbers. Max had 12.6 million activations as of December 8.
Industry experts previously said that piracy could be an issue once the movie had become available to stream.
“A pristine, high-definition copy of the movie will be available in everyone’s queues within days,” Shawn Robbins, the Box Office Pro chief analyst, told Business Insider last week.
But a lack of enthusiasm for “Wonder Woman 1984” may have contributed to its dramatic decline at the China box office. It scored a 7.8 on the Chinese ticketing app Maoyan and a 6.5 from the Chinese social network Douban, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The movie has generally been favored less than its predecessor, “Wonder Woman,” among audiences and critics.
It has a 65% Rotten Tomatoes critic score and a 73% audience score based on over 1,700 user ratings (“Wonder Woman” has a 93% critic score and 84% audience score). The sequel received a B+ on Cinemascore, which surveys audiences on a movie’s opening night (the first movie received an A).
Jeff Bezos appears to be compiling a massive Beverly Hills compound.
Back in February, the Amazon CEO purchased the Warner estate, a piece of Hollywood history belonging to billionaire David Geffen. The $165 million sale broke a record for the most expensive home sale in California state history.
Then, in July, Bezos appeared to make another purchase, this time right next door: a $10 million home that shares a hedge line with the Warner estate. According to property records viewed by both Variety and Daily Mail, Bezos is the new owner of the 1930s-era home on a side street in Beverly Hills’ Benedict Canyon neighborhood.
A spokesperson for Amazon did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the sale.
While there are few photos of the estate and the adjacent home, Los Angeles County has plenty of aerial views of the property that give us our best look yet at Bezos’ rumored purchases.
Jack Warner, the cofounder and onetime president of Warner Bros., built his estate in 1937.
Warner started constructing the property in 1926, beginning with three acres of what used to be farmland in Beverly Hills, California. Slowly but surely, Warner started adding parcels of adjacent land and building out the grounds of the estate, adding a golf course and two ponds.
Warner liked to throw extravagant parties that were attended by stars like Olivia de Havilland and Jimmy Stewart and moguls like Howard Hughes. An invitation to a party at the estate was apparently one of the most sought-after in Hollywood in the late 1930s and early ’40s.
Warner filled the estate with expensive art, including a portrait of his wife, Ann, painted by Salvador Dali, according to Architectural Digest.
Warner died in 1978, and Ann Warner owned the house until she died in 1990. That same year, the music and movie tycoon David Geffen bought the whole estate, including the art, for $47.5 million, according to Forbes. The sale set a record at the time.
Bezos has vacationed aboard the yacht near the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain. Last year, he was pictured on the deck of the yacht alongside former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, model Karlie Kloss, and investor Josh Kushner.
In February, Bezos became the new owner of the Warner estate, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Journal reported that Bezos purchased the property for $165 million, making it the most expensive home sale in California history. No brokers were involved in the sale, according to The Journal.
At one point, the property also included a nine-hole golf course and a “motor court” with a garage and gas pumps, according to Architectural Digest, though it’s not clear if those amenities are still on the property.
Bezos reportedly bought an adjacent property in July for $10 million. That property is on Tropical Avenue, which is perpendicular to the Warner estate. It shares a hedge with the compound, though it is currently accessed from a different street.
That adjacent property was built in 1930 and was last sold for $5.45 million, according to Variety. It features three bedrooms and five bathrooms, six fireplaces, a rear patio, and rose and vegetable gardens.
It’s not clear what Bezos would want with an adjacent property, but he has a history of snatching up homes near his larger estates. In 2017, he bought the house next door to his previous Beverly Hills mansion for $12.9 million. His ex-wife, McKenzie Scott, was granted both homes in the couple’s divorce.
Warner Bros. announced last week that it will debut all of its 2021 movies on HBO Max the same day they arrive in theaters.
The filmmaker Christopher Nolan, a longtime partner of Warner Bros., called HBO Max “the worst streaming service” in a scathing statement on Monday.
The New York Times reported that WarnerMedia did not alert major talent agencies to the plan until 90 minutes before the announcement was made, leaving actors and filmmakers wondering how they will be compensated to make up for backend deals determined by box office.
The production company Legendary, which partnered with Warner Bros. on two of the movies (“Godzilla vs Kong” and “Dune”), was not made aware of the plan beforehand and will likely file a legal challenge, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Are you a current or former WarnerMedia employee with more to share? Contact the author at email@example.com or DM him on Twitter @TravClark2.
The announcement sent shockwaves through Hollywood.
While movie studios have experimented with alternatives to theaters amid the pandemic, like premium video-on-demand and streaming, Warner Bros.’ plan is the most disruptive one yet.
It didn’t take long for the backlash to start.
Christopher Nolan, the director behind “Tenet” – which Warner Bros. released to theaters in September to underwhelming box office in the US – criticized the plan in an interview with Entertainment Tonight on Monday, particularly the way Warner Bros. reportedly went about it, calling the situation “very, very, very, very messy” and a “real bait-and-switch.”
The New York Times’ Brooks Barnes and Nicole Sperling reported on Monday that WarnerMedia didn’t consult with talent before making the decision. According to The Times, the company “kept the major agencies and talent management companies in the dark until roughly 90 minutes before issuing a news release. Even some Warner Bros. executives had little warning.”
“Yeah, it’s sort of not how you treat filmmakers and stars and people who, these guys have given a lot for these projects,” Nolan told ET. “They deserved to be consulted and spoken to about what was going to happen to their work.”
Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story, but declined to comment for The Times.
Nolan, an outspoken defender of movie theaters, issued an even more scathing statement to The Hollywood Reporter calling Max “the worst streaming service.”
Here’s the statement:
“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. Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theaters and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak. They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Their decision makes no economic sense, and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.”
Nolan’s comments are a notable separation from Warner Bros., as the filmmaker has established a longrunning partnership with the studio that includes “Tenet,” the “Dark Knight” trilogy, and “Inception.”
The talent is angry
The reason some talent in the industry are angry about Warner Bros.’ plan, and its failure to consult with them about it, is because many actors and filmmakers strike “backend” deals that rely on box-office returns.
Some talent will take a smaller upfront payment in exchange for backend pay that would be a percentage of a movie’s box office if they think the movie will be a hit.
In this instance, Warner Bros. plans on releasing to HBO Max tentpole films that under normal circumstances could have been box-office blockbusters, such as “The Suicide Squad” and “Dune.”
According to THR, “The Suicide Squad” director James Gunn was “not pleased” when Warner Bros. offered a “lackluster formula” for compensating him and other talent, and that was only after it made the announcement.
Warner Bros. has tried to sweeten the deal for some. “Wonder Woman 1984” star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins are both getting more than $10 million, according to The Times. The movie will arrive on Max and in theaters on December 25.
But this payday seems to have led to tensions with other stars. Representatives for actors like Margot Robbie (“The Sucide Squad”), Keanu Reeves (“The Matrix 4”), and Will Smith (“King Richard”) felt their clients weren’t being treated fairly by comparison, according to The Times.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the movies will stream on HBO Max for one month before leaving and playing exclusively in US theaters. They will also play as intended in international theaters outside the US, where Max isn’t available. (While “Tenet” struggled domestically, it earned $350 million worldwide, suggesting some international markets are recovering from the pandemic as it continues to rage in the US.)
Max will pay Warner Bros. a 31-day licensing fee for the movies equal to what the studio’s portion of ticket sales would be in the US. WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar told Vox’s Peter Kafka that that will play a part in compensating talent.
But actors and filmmakers aren’t the only ones upset with Warner Bros.’ plan.
WarnerMedia reportedly blocked an offer from Netflix for a major tentpole
Warner Bros. has also caught the ire of the production company Legendary, which financed 75% of “Godzilla vs Kong,” according to THR and The Times.
Both outlets reported that Netflix had made a sizable offer to Legendary for the streaming rights to the monster crossover movie, but WarnerMedia blocked it (THR reported that the offer was “something north of $225 million” while The Times reported it was “at least $250 million”).
Now the production company, which also partnered with Warner Bros. on “Dune,” is likely to file a legal challenge, according to THR.
Both “Godzilla vs Kong” and “Dune” cost more than $150 million to produce.
Exhibitors aren’t happy, either
Movie-theater chains are also upset.
AMC, the largest theater chain in the world, issued a rebuke of Warner Bros.’ plan on Thursday, saying: “Clearly, WarnerMedia intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio, and that of its partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max startup. As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense.”
AMC’s stock was down 16% following the announcement.
Cineworld, the owner of Regal, was less scathing, saying in a statement that it expects Warner Bros. to “reach an agreement about the proper window and terms that will work for both sides.”
WarnerMedia’s EVP of direct-to-consumer, Andy Forssell, feels differently. In an interview with Business Insider on Thursday following the news, he said that the plan “supports the ecosystem.”
“It’s a very stable thing and there’s a lot of value in that,” he said. “Predictability is at a premium right now.”
WarnerMedia clearly expects to capitalize on that “stability” to boost Max, which has struggled to convert customers who already subscribe to HBO amid brand confusion and a lack of support on Roku, one of the biggest streaming distributors.
For comparison, Disney Plus has more than 73 million subscribers since launching in November. NBCUniversal’s Peacock had 22 million sign-ups by October after fully launching in July, though it’s unknown how many are paid subscribers.
A potential preview of how Max’s 2021 plan could fare will be the debut of “Wonder Woman 1984” on December 25, when it will be available on Max and in theaters.
Are you a current or former WarnerMedia employee with more to share? Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM him on Twitter @TravClark2.
Ron Howard’s “Hillbilly Elegy,” based on the best-selling memoir of the same name, rose up the Netflix rankings this week, as did “The Christmas Chronicles 2.” The first “Christmas Chronicles” crept up the list, as well.
Every week, the streaming search engine Reelgood compiles for Business Insider a list of which movies have been most prominent on Netflix’s daily lists that week. On Reelgood, users can browse Netflix’s entire movie library and sort by IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes ratings.
Below are Netflix’s 9 most popular movies of the week in the US:
9. “Hard Kill” (2020)
Description: “When a billionaire hires a team of mercenaries for protection, they soon realize world-changing technology and his daughter’s life are also at stake.”
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 0%
What critics said: “Anyone hoping Bruce Willis might enjoy a career renaissance after his rediscovery in M Night Shyamalan’s Split and Glass: lower those expectations now.” — Guardian
8. “The Christmas Chronicles” (2018, Netflix original)
Description: “After accidentally crashing Santa’s sleigh, a brother and sister pull an all-nighter to save Christmas with a savvy, straight-talking St. Nick.”
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 67%
What critics said: “The film doesn’t know how to get out of its own way and foreground what’s working, namely the dynamo of screen presence placed more prominently in the advertising than the feature itself.” — AV Club
7. “Peppermint” (2018)
Description: “After her family is murdered, a mild-mannered mom remakes herself into a badass vigilante in order to exact violent justice.”
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 12%
What critics said: “There must not have been enough zeros on the alimony check; why else would Garner agree to lend her name to what is essentially gun porn?” — San Diego Reader
6. “The Beast” (2020, Netflix original)
Description: “To rescue his daughter, an unstable Special Forces veteran unleashes his inner beast as he pursues her kidnappers — and soon becomes a suspect himself.”
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/A
What critics said: N/A
5. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000)
Description: “The Grinch decides to rob Whoville of Christmas — but a dash of kindness from little Cindy Lou Who and her family may be enough to melt his heart.”
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 49%
What critics said: “Five-year-olds might go for it, but people who grew up with Jones’ version will be looking at their watches and grinding their teeth.” — Slate
4. “The 2nd” (2020)
Description: “A Secret Service agent is drawn into a terrorist plot when his son’s classmate, the daughter of a Supreme Court Justice, is targeted for kidnapping.”
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/A
What critics said:
3. “Hillbilly Elegy” (2020, Netflix original)
Description: “An urgent phone call pulls a Yale Law student back to his Ohio hometown, where he reflects on three generations of family history and his own future.”
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 25%
What critics said: “Hillbilly Elegy is an Oscar-friendly narrative of personal triumph in the face of great hardship, a movie designed to end with an uplifting epigraph; it is also one of the worst movies of the year.” — The Atlantic
2. “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” (2018)
Description: “A grump with a mean streak plots to bring Christmas to a halt in the cheerful town of Whoville. But a generous little girl could change his heart.”
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 60%
What critics said: “It’s best for kids and adults who just can’t handle the angry, diabolical monster of films past.
1. “The Christmas Chronicles 2” (2020, Netflix original)
Description: “Unhappy over her mom’s new relationship, a now-teenage Kate runs away and lands at the North Pole, where a naughty elf is plotting to cancel Christmas.”
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 72%
What critics said: “Kids will eat it all up, but let’s face it, they also love the food at Chuck E. Cheese.” — Hollywood Reporter