Changing the Entertainment Game for Better or Worse

One of the best things about human beings is that we can handle hugely different ideas without making any sacrifices on the efficiency front. This ability has allowed us to nurture our growth in a holistic manner, therefore preparing us for a more complete version of ourselves. Now, while such a setup is no less than a luxury, it is, under real world circumstances, quite misleading. You see, humans are surely able touch upon some unique elements over the course of their lives, but they do miss out on certain big ones. In fact, what they cannot reach has often appeared as potentially devastating across a wider spectrum. Hence, to expand our field of vision and curb the said consequences, the world has brought dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. These regulatory bodies are tasked with establishing complete order in their domain, and in hindsight, we can say they have been largely successful in doing so. However, it’s not to say there were no difficulties. Technology and various other avenues have actually done a lot to make things harder for the governing forces, and the recent most permutation of it went on display after a lawsuit was filed against entertainment giant, WarnerMedia.

WarnerMedia has just become of the many studios to land in trouble over prioritizing an OTT release for their latest movie, The Matrix Resurrections. Village Roadshow Films, which co-produced the movie, sued the company for releasing it on HBO Max the same day it had its theatre release scheduled. According to a few reports, the complaint accuses WarnerMedia of speeding up the release just so it could bolster an internally coded initiative named “Project Popcorn”. Project Popcorn is a release model that focuses drastically more on streaming subscription than box office revenue. A model of this sort, as you would expect, reduces the usual monetary incentive for the partners associated with the film, thus creating an underwhelming, and even unfair, return on investment.

Village Roadshow Films’ lawsuit commented on Project Popcorn saying it’s a “clandestine plan to materially reduce box office and correlated ancillary revenue generated from tent pole films that Village Roadshow and others would be entitled to receive in exchange for driving subscription revenue for the new HBO Max service.”

Warner Bros, in its response, deemed the lawsuit as “a frivolous attempt by Village Roadshow to avoid their contractual commitment to participate in the arbitration that we commenced against them last week. We have no doubt that this case will be resolved in our favor.”

We don’t know what is going to be the ultimate resolution, but the whole situation does give you a clear insight into how the landscapes are changing in the global entertainment industry. With pandemic increasing the focus on OTT platform, theatre releases are getting less and less attractive, giving space to many cases like this one to sprout up. If we are to look for other examples of such a controversy, we can take a lot at the lawsuit Scarlett Johansson filed against Disney in relation to Black Widow’s ill-timed OTT release.

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