“The Many Saints of Newark,” the prequel to the classic TV series “The Sopranos” from writer-producer David Chase and director Alan Taylor, is finally out. The movie, which follows the complicated life of mobster Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), including his relationship with young Tony Soprano (Michael Gandolfini), in the ’60s and ’70s, has so far proven a bit divisive among long-time fans of the landmark HBO series — which is probably not the kind of buzz Warner Bros. was hoping for after finally responding to the clamor for more stories in David Chase’s popular mob universe.
The movie is also the latest experimental offering in the dual-release strategy Warner Bros. has been deploying throughout the pandemic. Some of the biggest, most-anticipated releases distributed by the studio have been thrust out into the world with simultaneous day-and-date debuts in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service. Thus far, the experiment has been a mixed bag — at least as far as box office returns are concerned. Some of these films have had successful theatrical runs that haven’t been entirely cannibalized by their HBO Max releases. “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Mortal Kombat” certainly fall into this category, but not all of Warner’s films have been so successful. “The Many Saints of Newark” sits squarely in the latter category.