Warner Media has announced that each of its 2021 films will be released in theatres and on HBO Max concurrently. The revolutionary decision is due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It also allows the studio to maximize their movies as revenue events on its streaming service, while still helping theatres that have opted to remain open.
Warner Media plans to run the new business model as an experiment for one year, but it does have a few limitations.
The films will only be available on HBO Max for one month before being removed for a period of time.
In that time the movies will continue as theatrical releases in the customary distribution windows for each title.
And theatrical releases will still be the only option in territories were HBO Max is not available.
Speaking about the groundbreaking decision Chair and CEO of Warner Media Studios and Networks Group, Ann Sarnoff said…
“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group. No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do. We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theatres in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021.”
“With this unique one-year plan, we can support our partners in exhibition with a steady pipeline of world-class films, while also giving moviegoers who may not have access to theatres or aren’t quite ready to go back to the movies the chance to see our amazing 2021 films. We see it as a win-win for film lovers and exhibitors, and we’re extremely grateful to our filmmaking partners for working with us on this innovative response to these circumstances.”
So far the movies scheduled for these speciality releases in 2021 include…
The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In The Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Reminiscence, Malignant, Dune, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard, Cry Macho and Matrix 4.
Meanwhile, Disney is also reportedly thinking about releasing three of its upcoming movies directly to its streaming platform. This includes Cruella, Peter Pan and Wendy, and Pinocchio which are all live-action remakes of classic Disney films. The studio also plans to debut its latest Pixar film, Soul on the Disney+ streaming service in December.
Unfortunately, HBO Max and Disney+ are still not available in South Africa as yet.
Has Warner Bros. made the correct decision? Are you happy to watch blockbuster films in the comfort of your own home?