Keanu Reeves and Will Smith both didn’t receive bonuses for Warner Bros.’ decision to put their 2021 films on HBO Max. Reeves is starring in the highly anticipated The Matrix 4, which is one of the studio’s bigger films to release in 2021.
Smith is set to star in King Richard, a film about Venus and Serena Williams’ father, representing a more dramatic turn for the actor. Both films will hit theaters and HBO Max on the same day and the movies will stay on the streaming platform for a month.
The move is part of Warner Bros.’ larger 2021 plan that involves releasing all 17 of their movies on HBO Max the same day as theaters.
The move followed the studio’s decision to keep Wonder Woman 1984 on its Christmas Day release and release the movie simultaneously. The move has shocked the industry, with major Warner Bros. director Christopher Nolan blasting the studio for the decision.
The studio gave a 90 minute heads up to actors and others involved with the films before making the announcement.
The move is controversial and will affect the payday of some of the studio’s biggest stars. That includes Reeves and Smith who, according to NYT, have not received compensation. They will be able to negotiation in the future.
According to the article, some talent agencies and performers have considered litigation against the studio. Other studios, like Dune’s, are planning to pushback against the move.
There is still potential for Smith and Reeves to receive their payday. Many are angry with Warner Bros. right now, and that includes the actors and the people around them who expected to receive significant returns in proportion to the amount the film grosses.
Both Reeves and Smith’s films will be hitting theaters in the latter half of the year. By that time, hopefully a vaccine will have been widely circulated and, hopefully, theaters will begin to reopen again.
Having their films premiere on HBO Max the same day will significantly affect an already precarious potential box office gross.
With the release of their films so far away, the stars will have plenty of time to negotiate a deal. Gal Gadot, star of Wonder Woman 1984 is receiving a $10 million payday for the move.
The stars could use that as precedent in their negotiations. They will also be coming from an advantageous position in the sense that Warner Bros. will want to keep stars like Smith and Reeves in their good graces.
With the entirety of the industry seemingly fuming at the studio’s decision, Warner Bros. will likely do anything to make amends. Seeing as King Richard could be a potential awards contender and The Matrix 4 will be one of the most talked about movies of the year, Smith and Reeves might end up lucky.