- Industry insiders told The Hollywood Reporter that theaters are considering slashing the prices of tickets to Warner Bros. films after the studio announced it would be releasing its 2021 pictures to theaters and HBO Max simultaneously.
- Prices for movies by the studio could be down to just $3 to $5 per ticket. Theaters also want to take anywhere between 75% to 85% of that revenue, leaving Warner Bros. with almost nothing.
- This is not the first jab theaters have taken against the studio since this move was announced. AMC cited Warner Bros. and direct-to-streaming models as one of the major reasons the chain’s financial struggles could continue into the next year.
- Hollywood leaders, including directors like Christopher Nolan and Judd Apatow, have also spoken out against Warner Bros. for this release strategy. Like many, they take issue with the fact that it was made without consulting filmmakers, and there are questions about how financially sustainable the move will be in the long run.
Theaters Debating Slashing Prices
As major movie theater chains cite Warner Bros. as one of the many causes of their ongoing financial struggles, some theaters could opt to dramatically cut the prices of tickets for movies made by the studio.
Insiders told The Hollywood Reporter that theaters are considering bringing prices down between $3 to $5 per ticket for Warner Bros. films. They then would aim to keep 75% to 80% of the revenue, leaving the studio with almost nothing.
This comes after Warner Bros. announced that they would release all of their 2021 titles on HBO Max the same day those pictures come out in theaters. This release strategy will start with the highly anticipated “Wonder Woman 1984” on Christmas day.
The studio received backlash from leaders all across the entertainment industry for this move, which came without a warning. Many were shocked that Warner Bros. made this choice without consulting filmmakers while others thought the choice was a major dig at movie theaters, which are already suffering from the pandemic. On top of this, filmmakers are also concerned that allowing new films to go directly to streaming will not be profitable in the long run for blockbuster releases.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar has defended this decision, saying that the studio still supports theaters, but needs to think in terms of what is and is not possible as the coronavirus continues infect millions across the United States
“I absolutely believe in the theatrical marketplace,” Kilar said in an interview with Deadline. “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.”
Movie Theaters Vs. Warner Bros.
Still, many in the industry remain upset with this strategy. Both AMC and Cinemark have said they will have to consider whether or not to screen Warner Bros. movies on a title-by-title basis. AMC also said that it could run out of money by January, citing the direct-to-streaming release models as one of the reasons why.
The theater chain giant wrote in an SEC filing that the promise of many Americans potentially being vaccinated against the virus sometime next year has “a material positive impact on our industry,” but in the meantime, problems keep mounting.
“A significant spike in coronavirus cases, together with delays of major movie releases or the direct or simultaneous release of movie titles to the home video or streaming markets in lieu of theatre exhibition, have led to theatre closures, prevented the opening of theatres in major markets and have had, and are expected to continue to have in the future, a material adverse impact on theatre attendance levels and our business,” that filing said.
“These challenges have been exacerbated by the announcement by Warner Bros. that its entire studio film slate for 2021 will move to simultaneous release, which may result in other studios adopting a similar strategy.”
Movie theaters need studios to release new exclusive content if they have any hopes of surviving the pandemic. If people have the chance to watch these movies from their couch on a subscription service instead of the theaters, box office revenue could suffer, putting theaters in an even worse position than they are already in.
Filmmakers Speak Out
Theaters are not the only ones who have vocally opposed Warner Bros. Major filmmakers have also spoken out against the studio for putting its streaming service ahead of theaters.
“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,” director Christopher Nolan, who has had a long standing relationship with Warner Bros., told The Hollywood Reporter.
He doubled down on his feelings while speaking to The Washington Post on Tuesday.
“The studio needed to collaborate with the filmmakers on what was going to happen,” he told the paper. “They didn’t speak to the filmmakers, they didn’t speak to the theater chains.”
“It’s the type of disrespect that you hear about in the history of show business,” writer and director Judd Apatow added during a round table interview with Variety. “But to do that to just every single person that you work with is really somewhat stunning.”
Apatow also called the decision a “financial nightmare.”
Timothée Chalamet appeared to take a stand against the studio while capping off his hosting gig on Saturday Night Live. The actor wore a sweatshirt with the logo of Legendary Entertainment, the production company behind his upcoming flick “Dune.” Legendary is set to challenge Warner Bros. over this decision, and many thought Chalamet’s clothing choice was a show of support.
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (Business Insider) (Fox Business)
Netflix Reinstates Employee Who Crashed Director-Level Meeting After Criticizing Dave Chapelle
Terra Field had publicly accused Chappelle of making transphobic remarks in his new stand-up special “The Closer” just days before she was suspended.
Netflix Reinstates Terra Field
Netflix reinstated a transgender employee who was critical of Dave Chappelle’s new stand-up special after suspending her for attending a director-level meeting without an invitation.
Terra Field tweeted on Tuesday that she was reinstated once the company determined “there was no ill-intent in” her decision to attend the meeting.
“I’m going to take a few days off to decompress and try to figure out where I’m at,” she added. “At the very least, I feel vindicated.”
Field also shared an email Netflix sent her regarding her suspension being lifted.
“Our investigation did not find that you joined the QBR meeting with any ill intent and that you genuinely didn’t think there was anything wrong with seeking access to this meeting,” the email said. “Additionally, when a Director shared the link it further supported that this was a meeting you could attend.”
Field’s suspension came just days after she tweeted a viral thread criticizing Chappelle’s latest program on Netflix, “The Closer.” She was one of many activists who claimed Chappelle’s set was transphobic and encouraged Netflix to take action. Field wrote that his comments attacked “the very validity of transness.” Netflix insisted those tweets had nothing to do with her suspension.
Field reportedly attended the director-level meeting with two other employees who were also suspended. A spokesperson for Netflix told Deadline that those two staffers have likewise been reinstated and the company “will be distributing broader guidance about meetings and clarifying which are for which people.”
Netflix’s Response to Dave Chappelle Controversy
Netflix, for its part, has defended Chappelle and rejected calls to remove “The Closer” from the streaming service.
“It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Srandos wrote in an internal memo. “You should also be aware that some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do.”
“We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line,” he added. “I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
Among other things, Chappelle took time in his special to defend author J.K. Rowling, who previously faced backlash over a series of transphobic remarks she made. Chappelle said he agreed with Rowling.
“I’m team TERF,” he added. “I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”
Chappelle went on to make jokes about Caitlyn Jenner before comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
Many employees at Netflix are still frustrated with the way the platform has handled the controversy surrounding “The Closer.” According to The Verge, a trans employee resource group is planning a walkout on Oct. 20.
“Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter,” the group said in a memo. “And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Deadline) (The New York Times)
Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch May Have Abandoned Plans To Participate In TikTok NFT Program
Lil Nas X’s TikTok NFT was scheduled to debut a week ago and is still not available to the public.
Creators Allegedly Leave TikTok’s NFT Program
Musicians Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch may have quietly exited TikTok’s new NFT collection, according to a report from Rolling Stone.
TikTok first announced the line, which is called “TikTok Top Moments,” at the end of September. It involves a series of creator-led NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are unique and tradeable digital assets. TikTok’s NFTs can be purchased with the cryptocurrency Ethereum. According to a press release, the money will “largely go directly to the creators and NFT artists involved.”
TikTok said that creators like Poarch, Lil Nas X, Grimes, Curtis Roach, Brittany Broski, and more would be participating in the program. The company called NFTs an “empowerment tool” that will allow these creators to “be recognized and rewarded for their content.” It planned to debut the collection on Oct. 6 with Lil Nas X’s NFT, but that token has still not been made available. A source told Rolling Stone that it may never be released.
NFT Rollout Described as “A Mess”
The outlet also reported that Poarch is “actively contemplating pulling out of the program due to worries about its execution.” According to Rolling Stone, three sources familiar with the rollout of the program have described it as “a challenge,” “a mess,” and “a complete joke.”
Those sources claimed that in order to secure Poarch’s initial participation, TikTok offered her marketing support worth potentially $4 million for her next release. The company also allegedly promised to use one of her songs in an end-of-year campaign. A spokesperson for TikTok, however, described these claims as “not accurate.”
Neither Poarch nor Lil Nas X has commented on their participation yet. Meanwhile, TikTok declined to answer Rolling Stone’s questions about the status of their NFTs.
Some of TikTok’s announced NFTs have gone public, though. Throughout Tuesday, Roach’s “Bored in the House” video was up for auction on the platform Immutable.
NFTs took the internet by storm in early 2021, but their popularity peaked in May and declined throughout the summer. Celebrities, tech moguls, and everyday people featured in viral memes have hopped on the trend and made millions doing so.
According to Rolling Stone, TikTok has valued some of its own NFTs at $1 million. Now, it’s unclear if those tokens will ever hit the market.
See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Dexerto)
Ariana Grande, Bella Hadid, and Others Honor World Mental Health Day
A slew of stars acknowledged the day by sharing personal stories and making hefty donations to organizations that offer mental health resources.
Celebrities Donate to Mental Health Organizations
Major celebrities honored World Mental Health Day on Sunday by speaking candidly about their mental health struggles and donating to nonprofits.
Singer Ariana Grande announced that she is donating $5 million worth of free therapy through the online counseling platform Better Help. The star previously partnered with the company over the summer to give $1 million in therapy to fans and opted to throw more money at the program following its success.
“I acknowledge that there are very real barriers when it comes to accessing mental health resources, and while this is only one small gesture (and a much larger systemic problem remains) I wanted to do this again with @betterhelp in hopes of bringing access to a few more people and perhaps inspiring a few of you to try something new and prioritize your own healing,” Grande wrote on Instagram.
Those interested can sign up for a free first month of Better Help and get an additional 15% off the second month.
Model Bella Hadid also pledged to donate to mental health resources. She teamed up with the beverage company Kin Euphorics, which will donate 10% of its October sales to Gurls Talk, a nonprofit that gives adolescent girls a space to talk about mental health, along with various educational tools to aid those discussions. Hadid will match those donations.
“Dealing with mental illness for most of my life, bringing awareness to the education of mental health through my platform is something that I will continue to do until our mental is just as respected as our physical,” Hadid wrote. “I want everyone who struggles daily to know that you are not alone.”
Stars Share Resources and Personal Stories
Meanwhile, actress and singer Selena Gomez used her new makeup brand Rare Beauty to share statistics about the prevalence of mental illness and the efforts to combat it. The company, which has previously focused on several mental health initiatives, shared that just 1.3% of philanthropic investments go towards supporting mental health.
The company additionally cited information from an American Psychological Association report, which revealed that young people are particularly vulnerable to mental health struggles. It found that seven out of 10 Gen Z adults are more likely to report experiencing depression symptoms compared to other generations.
Gomez shared Rare Beauty’s post to her own story as well.
Singer Olivia Rodrigo similarly opened up about mental health and therapy during an interview with CBS that aired Sunday. In it, she said she has been in therapy since she was 16, which she believes has helped her both personally and professionally.
“That was a really big, life-changing moment,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about myself.”
“I think there’s sometimes a stigma around it, too, like I was saying,” the singer continued. “Sometimes people are like, ‘Oh, you don’t need that. You have so much. Your life is so great. What are your problems?’ I think that’s definitely a thing that sometimes older people can do to younger people to kind of trivialize what they’re going through.”