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Legendary Entertainment May Challenge Warner Bros. Over HBO Max Releases

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  • Legendary Entertainment may legally challenge Warner Brothers’ choice to release its 2021 films to HBO Max and theaters simultaneously, according to Deadline.
  • Among the films set to follow this model are “Dune” and “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” which Legendary financed over half of. The company was allegedly given no notice that Warner would be putting those films on streaming before the news went public.
  • Critics of the Warner Bros.’ release strategy say it will hurt theaters, which are already suffering because of the pandemic, and argue that it will not be profitable for the studio in the long term.
  • WarnerMedia CEO says he does “absolutely believe in the theatrical marketplace,” but the company currently “focused on getting through this pandemic like any business is.”

Warner Bros. Stuns Industry

Just days after Warner Bros. announced it would be releasing its 2021 films to theaters and HBO Max simultaneously, Legendary Entertainment is poised to legally challenge that decision.

Warner Bros. 2021 release calendar includes big pictures like “Dune” and “Godzilla vs. Kong.” Legendary Entertainment paid for 75% of the former film’s $165 million budget, and covered a similar amount for the latter. Because of this, the production company “either has or will send legal letters to Warner Bros as soon as today,” per a Monday report from Deadline

Deadline also reported that Legendary was ready to hand “Godzilla vs. Kong” to Netflix for $250 million before that deal was blocked by Warner Bros.

Peter Bart and Mike Fleming Jr, who broke the news in a column for the outlet believe that Legendary has the right to bring this forward, especially since “Dune” – directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya– was set to be the first film in a major adaptation series. 

“Will the long-term viability of the franchises be tarnished by starting out as an HBO Max offering?” they asked in the column before noting that Hollywood in general is not happy with Warner Bros. because of its 2021 release model.

Legendary was allegedly given no advance warning of the big shakeup before the news went public. Others in the industry were similarly caught off guard. Vulture quoted executives who messaged each other about the news, saying things like “This is ridiculous that they wouldn’t even make one phone call,” and “They didn’t even try to reach out. And they just assume that we would go along with this.”

On top of this move impacting the wider entertainment industry, it also will likely impact quite a few paychecks. According to Vulture, Gal Gadot was set to see $10 million for “Wonder Woman 1984” which will have a dual release on Christmas day.

However, the cash depends on a back-end component that would only kick in when the movie earned a certain dollar amount at the box office. With this release model, it is far less likely the sequel will rake in that amount, and Gadot is far from the only person with a clause of this nature in her contract, meaning a lot of people will not be getting their anticipated paydays. Warner Bros, might have to buy out every deal like this, which is an expensive endeavor. 

Financial Implications

Overall, experts are questioning if this HBO Max model is financially stable. Vulture estimates that this decision would have to give the streamer a 15-20 million subscriber boost to make sense. In normal times, many of the movies getting simultaneously released could have made a ton at the box office, and it’s not easy to make that kind of money from streaming films.

While it also is not easy to make that kind of money in the theaters during a pandemic, a vaccine is just around the corner, meaning theatergoing is on track to resume at some point in the near future. 

One high-up but unnamed executive told Variety that WarnerMedia has “parted with easily $2 billion in assets, gift-wrapped for HBO Max, that will see absolutely no return.”

AMC President Adam Aron also said that prioritizing streaming could lead to a profit loss. 

“Clearly, Warner Media intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max start up,” he said in a statement. 

“As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense,” he added in defense of his company, which is a theater-going giant. “We will aggressively pursue economic terms that preserve our business. We have already commenced an immediate and urgent dialogue with the leadership of Warner on this subject.”

His reaction was more optimistic than others in the industry. Many think this is the beginning of the end of moviegoing as we know it. One executive told Variety that “movie theaters will just be Halloween stores now.”

“If Disney follows this template in any capacity, movie theaters are done,” another told the outlet. 

The timing of this announcement is devastating and theaters probably feel like they are being kicked while they are already down. AMC lost $900 million in its third quarter because of the pandemic. Cineworld cut 45,000 employees. 

Warner Responds

Warner Media CEO Jason Kilar maintains that this 2021 strategy is just about the pandemic, not about hurting theaters for the sake of streaming.

“We’re here for the long term, in terms of theatrical exhibition and obviously in investing heavily in motion pictures,” he said in an interview with Deadline.

“I absolutely believe in the theatrical marketplace,” Kilar added. “I say that with conviction because I know fans care about it….Our focus, candidly, is on the here and now. We’re focused on getting through this pandemic like any business is, and we’re putting a lot of brain cells against what the right thing is to do to serve fans and to serve partners and to serve ourselves.”

According to Kilar, data shows that consumer behavior will be impacted by the pandemic through much of 2021, which “has absolutely shaped this decision.” He also defended the economic impacts, saying that while this is a big change, it does allow the company to pull from two revenue sources at once, all while doing what they think is best for fans, talent, and exhibitors.

See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Vulture) (Variety)

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Chris Evans Dismisses Reports of His Possible MCU Return

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  • Deadline published an article Thursday reporting that Chris Evans was in talks to return to his role as Captain American for at least one future Marvel production.
  • The news was unexpected as Evans retired from the role following 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”
  • After the rumor became a trending topic, Evans tweeted, “News to me.”

Deadline Reports Evans Is Coming Back to the MCU

According to Deadline, actor Chris Evans is in talks to return to his iconic role as Captain America in at least one upcoming Marvel project.

However, according to Evans himself, that rumor is “news to me.” 

Evans trended online Thursday following Deadline’s report, which stated that the actor could return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in up to two projects. 

Reportedly, the roles would not be for an Evans-led “Captain America” film; rather, they would be more akin to Robert Downey Jr’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe post-“Iron Man 3.”

Soon after Deadline reported Evans’ potential return, a number of other outlets jumped on the news.

Evans Said Goodbye To Captain America in 2019

Evans’ subsequent tweet appears to indicate that the actor has no plans to return as Captain America. 

Indeed, the reports of Evans’ return were unexpected as the actor has been vocal about 2019’s “Avengers: Endgamebeing his last outing as the character. 

“Officially wrapped on Avengers 4,” Evans said in 2018. “It was an emotional day to say the least. Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor. To everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the audience, thank you for the memories! Eternally grateful.”

In addition to Evans’ own desire to retire from the role, the character of Captain America (AKA, Steve Rogers) was given a firm conclusion in “Endgame.”

In its original article, Deadline explained that while Evans was initially adamant about not returning to the role, he has been more open to the idea in recent months. 

So far, Marvel has not confirmed or denied the reports, but it might not be unfathomable to think that Evans’ could return to the role at some point, even if Thursday’s rumors are false.

For example, Downey Jr. is set to briefly reprise his role as Iron Man in Scarlett Johansson’s upcoming “Black Widow,” despite Downey Jr also retiring from his role in “Endgame.”

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNET) (Insider)

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Warner Media Defends DC Films President Following Accusations From Ray Fisher

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  • Warner Media said it does not believe DC Films President Walter Hamada interfered with misconduct investigations on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”
  • Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg in DC films, previously alleged that director Joss Whedon created an abusive and unprofessional work environment on set, adding that Whedon was enabled by executives Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.
  • He also claimed Hamada tried to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to protect Johns, who is his friend, despite knowing about his involvement in the issues.

Issues on the Set of The Justice League

Warner Media is standing by DC Film President Walter Hamada after actor Ray Fisher claimed the executive inferred with investigations into misconduct on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”

Fisher has played Cyborg in “Justice League” and other DC projects. Back in July, he alleged that director Joss Whedon created a “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” work environment during reshoots for “Justice League.”

Whedon stepped in to replace Zack Snyder, who was originally directing the 2017 film until he had to leave because of a death in his family. 

Fisher says that Whedon’s behavior was enabled by Geoff Johns, who was the DC Entertainment president at the time before transitioning to a new role at Warner Brothers, as well as Jon Berg, who was the co-president of production at Warner Brothers until the end of 2017.

Warner opened an investigation into the claims and announced in December that it had concluded. The studio said remedial action had been taken but did not give details. Though, just weeks earlier, news broke that Whedon was leaving his show at HBO and Warner Media, effectively parting ways with the studio. 

The studio and Fisher sparred online throughout the investigation and after it was over. In September, “Aquaman” actor Jason Momoa showed support for Fisher and also claimed people on set were mistreated. 

“Serious stuff went down,” he wrote on Instagram. “It needs to be investigated and people need to be held accountable.”

“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot eventually expressed support for Fisher’s choice to speak out in December. 

Fisher Claims Hamada Interfered in Investigation

Despite the investigation ending, Fisher still lodged complaints at the studio alleging that Hamada had interfered with the investigation in an effort to cover for Johns, who was a friend of his. At the end of 2020, Fisher said he did not want to work on any production involving Hamada. 

On Wednesday, he confirmed that Warner Bros. decided to remove Cyborg from the upcoming film “The Flash.” He said that while he disagreed, he was not surprised. 

“While I do mourn the lost opportunity to bring Victor Stone back to the screen, bringing awareness to the actions of Walter Hamada will prove to be a much more important contribution to our world,” he wrote. 

Fisher said that when he tried to escalate his concerns about Whedon, Johns, and Berg on the “Justice League” set to Hamada, Hamda attempted to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to save Johns. Fisher said that he alerted Hamada that Johns was in fact involved with the issues at hand, but Hamada allegedly responded by asking for names of more witnesses and dismissing the claims. 

“Walter Hamada interfering with the ‘Justice League’ investigation is a completely separate issue than the investigation itself,” Fisher wrote. “And while Walter’s behavior was not a point of focus for the investigation of the ‘Justice League’ reshoots, his dangerous and enabling actions during the investigation process must be called to account.”

“No one, in any profession, should have to argue with their employer for their claims of abuse,” he continued before saying Hamada was “unfit” for a position in leadership. 

He said that if ending his tenure playing Cyborg was the price he had to pay to bring awareness to Hamada’s actions, that he would “pay it gladly.”

Warner Media Stands By Hamada

On Thursday morning Warner Media contradicted Fisher’s remarks and stood by Hamada. 

“I believe in Walter Hamada and that he did not impede or interfere in the investigation,” WarnerMedia chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff said in a statement. “Furthermore, I have full confidence in the investigation’s process and findings. Walter is a well-respected leader, known by his colleagues, peers, and me as a man of great character and integrity.”

Warner Media also said that they remain in business with Johns, who produces a number of projects at the studio. 

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Wrap) (Entertainment Weekly)

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Belle Delphine Responds To Outrage After Tweeting Out Graphic Photos

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  • Adult content creator Belle Delphine sparked outrage after tweeting graphic sexual photos of herself roleplaying a kidnapping situation.
  • Many accused her of glorifying rape and even pedophilia, arguing that she was dressed like a child. Others criticized her for not including a content warning and potentially triggering assault survivors.
  • Delphine issued a statement refusing to apologize, saying, “There is nothing wrong with enjoying powerplay and BDSM where both people are consensual.” She also said those who require trigger warnings before posts should not follow her.

CONTENT WARNING: The photos in this article and the discussion around
them involve explicit sexual content, rape, and kidnapping.

Belle Delphine Sparks Outrage

Adult content creator Belle Delphine received immediate backlash Tuesday after tweeting out graphic sexual photos of herself roleplaying as an apparent kidnapping victim.

“My perfect first date,” she captioned her post. The photos show Delphine in the back of a car with her legs and wrists bound by ropes. Her mouth is also covered by duct tape. In one specific image, a man who appears to be her “kidnapper” is having sex with her against a tree in the woods.

Soon after posting the photos, Twitter users accused her of fetishizing and glorifying rape. Some even argued that she was glorifying pedophilia as well because she appeared to be dressed like a child.

Though Delphine faced intense criticism, others also argued that she was posting pictures of a practice known as consensual non-consent and should not be facing this much backlash for it.

That type of defense was slammed as well, with critics saying there were still other problems with her post. For instance, many noted that her tweet did not include a content or trigger warning. They described that choice as irresponsible given the explicit nature of the photos, which could bring pain to rape and assault survivors. 

Others argued that even though this situation was consensual, without the context, some might see these photos and internally normalize rape. They also noted that people who see the images might not be aware or any safe words or other signals that could have been agreed upon beforehand.

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Delphine Defends Herself

Delphine addressed the backlash Wednesday, saying she is “not sorry.”

“There is nothing wrong with enjoying powerplay and BDSM where both people are consensual. I think saying because I enjoy consensual non-consent is promoting rape, is the same as the argument that violence in video games promotes violence,” she wrote.

“I made it very clear in the caption of my photo, and anything written about it that I was enjoying it and that is was consensual, I never said the word rape, or anything against my will. This is what other people have put onto it.”

She also said it was “insane” to her that people thought she was dressed like a child. She described the outfit as “vintage” and said that other people dress like this all the time.

“If it’s about how I genetically look I can’t change that and I will not apologize for it either nor will I stop being sexual since I am a sexually active adult,” she added.

“No one likes rape, no one wants rape to exist,” she continued. “Saying that I support rape is the same as saying that 50% of the female population does, because if you look at statistics based upon this (from studies done over the last 30 years, including new studies) 31-61% of women have powerplay/rape fantasies in the exact same way. I consented to being tied up and to having rough sex.”

Delphine said that the front page of porn sites has every “fantasy scenario” a person can think of, from incest to teacher to stepmom and that one of the most common sexual fantasies is a schoolgirl. 

“Just because someone likes the fantasy of something, doesn’t mean they want it in real life. Sex is complex and explorative, but should always be consensual,” she wrote. 

When it comes to people upset that she did not include a trigger warning, she said that because her job involves this kind of content, people who would be upset by this should not follow here. 

“My whole Twitter/OnlyFans have constant themes of kink since I do porn as a job and I will not put a trigger warning on all of my posts,” she said. “Do not follow me if you require trigger warnings before posts.”

See what others are saying: (LadBible) (RT) (Distractify)

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