Five Screenwriters on Their Hopes for Movie Theaters and Warner Bros.’ HBO Max Strategy

When filmmakers gather these days, the conversation tends to turn to how the coronavirus pandemic has decimated movie theaters — as well as to the related topic of Warner Bros.’ bombshell decision to stream its entire 2021 slate on HBO Max the same day they’re to be released theatrically.

During a panel among screenwriters for Variety‘s inaugural FYC Fest, Judd Apatow (Universal’s “The King of Staten Island”), Aaron Sorkin (Netflix’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7”), Emerald Fennell (Focus Features’ “Promising Young Woman”), Kevin Willmott (Netflix’s “Da 5 Bloods”) and Andy Siara (Hulu’s “Palm Springs”) discussed those subjects and much more.Apatow detailed how Universal, in partnership with him, decided during the spring that his movie with Pete Davidson, “The King of Staten Island” — which was supposed to be a theatrical summer comedy — would instead go exclusively to premium video-on-demand.

Apatow said he wanted the film out there during the pandemic,

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