Updated: Sep 29, 2020
In an article from The Hollywood Report, AT&T CFO John Stephens announced WarnerMedia will be going through some reorganization including major layoffs and delays of some upcoming films from Warner Bros. Mr. Stephens mentions that the pandemic has forced them to look at new ways to distribute their content and new ways of doing business with other companies.
When addressing the upcoming movies releasing in theaters suggesting "further delays in some titles" Mr. Stephens states he is not certain where they're going to go as release schedules are always changing.
I am going to say right now, this does not confirm that Godzilla vs Kong will get delayed again. The most likely movies Mr. Stephens is mentioning are Wonder Woman 1984 and Dune. WW84 is expected to released on October 2nd and Dune is expected to release on December 18th. Godzilla vs Kong has already been pushed back to May 21, 2021 so to delay this movie and not Dune and WW84 would not make much sense. Unless there is a lot of doubt that theaters will be open by May 2021, Godzilla vs Kong is safe where it is right now. The source for the false assumption really came from a Twitter post from Discussing Film. The post linked the article from The Hollywood Report and added four images (WW84, Dune, The Conjuring 3, and Godzilla vs Kong) suggesting one or more of those movies will get the delayed with Godzilla-movies.com helping spread this false rumor.
There is one possibility that AT&T might be looking at and that is releasing one of their movies straight to VOD. One of the things Mr. Stephens mentions is that HBO Max will remain as one of their key areas for growth in the company. Right now, the "Snyder Cut" of Justice League is still in development, staff at WarnerMedia are getting cut, and movie theaters still not open for business the possibility of bringing one of these big budget titles to HBO Max is looking more and more likely. I am not saying it will happen, but it might happen and only time will tell.
One way to know if AT&T and Warner Bros. could consider bringing movies over to HBO Max depends on the success of Mulan on Disney Plus. Right now, Disney's plan is to make their subscribers pay a $30 premium to watch the film. If Mulan becomes successful in making money on Disney Plus there is no doubt that other companies and studios will want to do the same thing. By distributing movies on streaming platforms like HBO Max, Disney Plus, Netflix, and Hulu by forcing subscribers to pay a premium studios could make enough money to continue staying alive and the audience would not have to wait for very long to see their movies. As of right now, Disney's statement on Mulan coming to Disney Plus is that this is only a "one-off" and Mulan will still be coming to theaters. However, while this plan seems like a good idea for movie studios it will not be good for the movie theaters. Once a blockbuster movie is on a video-on-demand platform the theaters will miss out on the potential box-office revenue.
In Europe, movie theater owners are trying to bring their audience back to the theaters and their reaction to Mulan was anything but positive. According to Deadline, UK cinema owners called it a "f*** you to exhibitors". German theater owner and CEO of HDF Kino Christine Berg states that studios are "playing with fire" by experimenting with Premium VOD releases. In France, one movie theater owner made a video of him smashing and stomping on the Mulan promotional display and went viral on Twitter.
I will admit that I am burnt on the wait for Godzilla vs Kong. It's one of the most anticipated movies ever since 2015 when Legendary Entertainment transferred Kong: Skull Island from Universal Studios to Warner Bros. Even I commented on Twitter saying, "They should just release it on HBO Max" out of frustration. DMan1954 (god bless him for his insane amount of patience) even reminded us that there are contracts with TOHO Co. that would need to be renegotiated, which takes a lot of planning.
Ever since King Kong vs Godzilla was released in 1962 TOHO Co. has been dying to see these Godzilla and Kong together on the big screen again. They tried to do a sequel in 1964 and tried to do a remake in 1992, but due to complications both projects were scrapped. As of right now, King Kong vs Godzilla still stands as the number one Godzilla movie in Japan in ticket sales combined with the ticket sales for the rerelease in 1970. In order for Warner Bros. and AT&T to convince TOHO Co. to bring Godzilla vs Kong over to HBO Max will be very difficult and will need a good excuse in doing so. That is why Mulan is important. If Mulan does well then AT&T and Warner Bros. might consider bringing one of their movies to HBO Max. And if they do decide to go on that route I would still not expect Godzilla vs Kong to be the movie to air on the platform. I would expect The Conjuring 3 over Godzilla vs Kong to appear on HBO Max.
Even though Wonder Woman 1984 and Dune are the most likely candidates to get delayed nothing is set in stone and even if AT&T and Warner Bros. do decide to release one of their movies it is unlikely for Godzilla vs Kong to be the movie of their choice. What are your thoughts? Do you think Godzilla vs Kong will get delayed/release on HBO Max? Leave a comment in the comments section on your thoughts on the article from The Hollywood Report. Make sure to follow me on my Facebook, Twitter, and Minds pages to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.