The production company that co-financed Dune and Godzilla vs. Kong, Legendary Entertainment, is reportedly considering a lawsuit against Warner Bros. after the studio decided to debut all its 2021 films on HBO Max and theaters at the same time. Variety reports that sources close to the production company indicate Legendary isn't happy with the decision, is looking to negotiate a better deal, and will consider legal action if a compromise cannot be met.
Legendary financed a good chunk of the $175 million production that went into Dune, and some of the $160 million that went into Godzilla vs. Kong. Despite this, the company was not consulted on Warner's plans to send 17 films from its upcoming slate—everything the company had scheduled for 2021—to HBO Max on the same dates they'll hit cinemas. Warner Bros. previously collaborated with the production company for movies in the Godzilla franchise, Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, and the Hangover trilogy.
Warner could buy the films from Legendary to avoid legal action, but such talks over a more lucrative deal have yet to materialize. Prior to the announcement that HBO Max would get these movies day-and-date with theaters, WB's partner company WarnerMedia blocked a sale of Godzilla vs. Kong to Netflix for $250 million. Legendary is supposedly frustrated at the situation, since Warner Bros. was allegedly not upfront with its plans.
Dune director Denis Villeneuve evidently isn't psychedd about the situation either. Variety says insiders have indicated he'd prefer a traditional theatrical release for the film, which is scheduled to be the first of a two-part series if the sci-fi epic is successful. Other people involved with have reportedly expressed their frustration with the move in private.