Theatrical business is not going away: Steven Soderbergh
Warner Bros' plan to release all of their 2021 slate on HBO Max has provoked the ire of filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve, and James Gunn
During a promo interaction for his latest film, Let Them All Talk, which has just premiered on HBO Max, acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh commented on Warner Bros' plan to release all of their 2021 slate on HBO Max. The decision has provoked the ire of filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve, and James Gunn.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, the Ocean's Eleven director said he believes the decision is going to affect theatres only temporarily and not in the long term. "It’s just a reaction to an economic reality that I think everybody is going to have to acknowledge pretty soon, which is that even with a vaccine, the theatrical movie business won’t be robust enough in 2021 to justify the amount of P&A you need to spend to put a movie into wide release. There’s no scenario in which a theatre that is 50 per cent full, or at least can’t be made 100 per cent full, is a viable paradigm to put out a movie in."
Soderbergh expects the situation to change after some time. "I think somebody sat down and did a very clear-eyed analysis of what COVID is going to do in the next year, even with a potential vaccine, and said, 'I don’t see this as being workable in 2021'. Because, let’s be clear, there is no bonanza in the entertainment industry that is the equivalent of a movie that grosses a billion dollars or more theatrically. That is the holy grail. So the theatrical business is not going away. There are too many companies that have invested too much money in the prospect of putting out a movie that blows up in theatres — there’s nothing like it. It’s all going to come back. But, I think Warners is saying: not as soon as you think."
Let Them All Talk sees Soderbergh working with Meryl Streep again after The Laundromat. The film also stars Dianne West, Lucas Hedges, Candice Bergen, and Gemma Chan.