Warner Bros. just changed the game for every other movie studio by announcing they're no longer keeping their movies under lockdown.
In less than a fortnight after breaking the news that Wonder Woman 1984 would pair its Christmas Day release with a simultaneous premiere on HBO Max, Warner Bros. and HBO have just sent shockwaves across the world of entertainment by announcing no less than 17 Warner films will follow the same strategy in 2021.
Among those 17 movies now set to drop on HBO Max the same day, they hit cinemas are of course highly anticipated blockbusters like Dune, The Matrix 4, The Suicide Squad, and Godzilla Vs. Kong. Rounding off the list are slightly less prominent movies such as Mortal Kombat, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Tom & Jerry, Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In The Heights, Reminiscence, Malignant, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard and Cry, Macho.
Wonder Woman 1984 May Hit Streaming Early In The U.K.
As stated by Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarhoff, the shift comes with the realization that these are “unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative”. Serhoff went on to admit movie theaters are likely to still be operating in a limited capacity due to COVID-19 come 2021, so their joint effort with HBO Max will enable the studio to support traditional movie exhibitors, all while still offering an alternative for audiences who’d prefer to watch from home.
This was echoed by Warnermedia CEO Jason Kilar, who highlighted the choice given to consumers as the most important factor behind the studio’s decision, considering “content is extremely valuable unless it’s sitting on a shelf not being seen by anyone”. The decision seems like an absolute power move from Warner in stark contrast from when the same was announced for Wonder Woman 1984 in a more muted manner.
It’s very much worth noting that HBO Max is only available in the U.S., and just like Wonder Woman, these 17 films would release in theaters normally everywhere else over the world, where some countries’ cinemas are not struggling nearly to the same degree as their American counterparts. There are not any precise details so far as to how Warner Bros. and HBO Max will split income generated by this deal, nevertheless, it’s more than feasible to imagine Warner might take a cut of the huge number of subscriptions HBO Max might get from it.
Warner’s decision is said to have been very carefully thought out, yet one of their biggest drivers may have been Tenet’s overall performance, barely making any money on American soil and still good enough overseas to almost break even. It’s unclear what kind of effect this will have on the rest of the industry -especially for Disney-, but one thing is for sure, streaming is about to get even bigger in 2021.