How Sony Is Benefitting From The Warner Bros. HBO Max Deal

Warner Bros. made history – and a lot of people angry – when they announced they planned to release their upcoming 2021 theatrical slate directly to HBO Max. While the idea is appealing to those who want to view big new movies from the safety of their own home, cinephiles worry that this might signal the death of the theatrical experience. On top of that, creatives – filmmakers, actors, and beyond – are feeling betrayed and annoyed.

Having these titles available to stream could impact box office (the films are still getting theatrical releases the same day they hit HBO Max), which in turn could hurt people financially (lots of actors and filmmakers get an extra payday depending on how well their film does at the box office). To add insult to injury, many of the people involved with the upcoming 2021 Warner Bros. titles say they were never told WB was planning on doing this.

Because of all of this, it looks like the Warner Bros. decision might be benefiting rival studio Sony.

As we previously reported, the big decision by Warner Bros. to release their 2021 slate to HBO Max has angered pretty much everyone in Hollywood. And apparently, it's causing some people to take their business elsewhere. Sony CEO Tony Vinciquerra recently told CNBC (via The Verge) that "talent" has been calling up Sony with hopes to work with a studio that won't send everything to streaming.

"The real benefit has been the number of incoming calls from talent to us saying, 'We want to be doing business with you because we know you're a theatrical distributor and producer,'" said Vinciquerra. "That has actually worked very well for us." Now, I don't want to claim Vinciquerra is making this up, but the story does kind of have an "I have a girlfriend but you don't know her because she lives in Canada" vibe to it.

Still, it does make sense – Sony doesn't have a streaming service to their name, and while they have sold some movies to streaming before (like Greyhound, which went to Apple TV+), they're less likely to dump an entire year's worth of theatrical releases on a streaming service. At least for now. In the meantime, there are unsubstantiated rumors swirling that some people involved with upcoming WB movies are trying to fight back. The biggest rumor at the moment is that Legendary Pictures is ready to file a lawsuit with Warners over the release of Dune. Again: this is all conjecture and there's absolutely no confirmation. At least for now.