Judd Apatow Speaks Out Against WarnerMedia's HBO Max Move

Another day into December and WarnerMedia's decision to dump its movie slate on HBO Max throughout [...]

Another day into December and WarnerMedia's decision to dump its movie slate on HBO Max throughout all of 2021 continues to grow increasingly unpopular. The latest prominent filmmaker to speak out against the move is comedic mastermind Judd Apatow, using his position on a recent Variety panel to defend his stance on the situation. According to the Superbad producer, Warner's lack of transparency is the major driving force behind filmmakers and actors speaking out against the move.

"It's somewhat shocking that a studio for their entire slate could call what appears to be nobody. It's the type of disrespect that you hear about in the history of show business. But to do that to just every single person that you work with is really somewhat stunning," Apatow said during Variety's Virtual FYC Fest.

The new deal will see every film WarnerMedia has scheduled for 2021 sent to HBO Max the same day it hits cinemas, leading most filmmakers to believe movie-goers will instead choose to stay home instead of going to theaters.

"It creates a financial nightmare, because most people are paid residuals — they're paid back-end points," the filmmaker added. "What they get out of it for years and years of hard work is usually based on the success of their films. And so now what does it mean to have a movie go straight to streaming? How do they decide what to pay you? Do you even have a contract that allows you to negotiate, or is it really just up to them at this point? It raises thousands of questions, which I'm sure are very complicated."

New WarnerMedia chief Jason Kilar has continued to support the movie, saying it was a necessary move as uncertainty continues to grow across the industry as a global pandemic rages on.

"We all want a healthy industry, we all want storytellers to be compensated fairly and ideally generously, and we ultimately want studios to be healthy, too. So this is all of us doing the best we can," the executive previously told the trade.

Dune filmmaker Denis Villeneuve recently penned an essay thrashing WarnerMedia for the decision, suggesting the move could end up killing his new sci-fi adaptation.

"There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience here. It is all about the survival of a telecom mammoth, one that is currently bearing an astronomical debt of more than $150 billion," he wrote. "Therefore, even though "Dune" is about cinema and audiences, AT&T is about its own survival on Wall Street. With HBO Max's launch a failure thus far, AT&T decided to sacrifice Warner Bros.' entire 2021 slate in a desperate attempt to grab the audience's attention."

Cover photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for EB