Warner Bros. made a game changing decision on Thursday by announcing their entire film slate for 2021 would go to theaters and HBO Max on the same day…
Warner Bros. is looking to change the game with a huge announcement made on Thursday.
The studio will release its entire slate of movies due out in 2021 into theaters and HBO Max on the same day in similar fashion for what’s happening with “Wonder Woman 1984” dropping on Dec. 25.
The decision comes after the global coronavirus pandemic has seen a huge spike in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks, which will undoubtedly affect the movie theater business. Theaters have already been crushed during the ongoing pandemic with many major cities around the United States as well as countries across the globe shutting down any large gathering in hopes of stopping the spread of the deadly disease.
While every major studio has pushed back releases originally scheduled for 2020 into 2021 and beyond, Warner. Bros. is the first to commit to releasing all of their movies for the next year into theaters and their streaming service, HBO Max, on the same day.
With “Wonder Woman 1984” already set for release in theaters and HBO Max on Christmas day, here’s a list of the movies that Warner Bros. will be dropping in 2021:
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.
Several of those films including “Dune,” “The Suicide Squad” and “Matrix 4” were expected to be some of the biggest earning movies of the year for Warner Bros. and now they will drop on HBO Max the same day as they land in theaters.
“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff in a statement. “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 theaters 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 theaters 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.”
According to the announcement, all Warner Bros. films will be released on the same day in theaters with a one month run on HBO Max at no additional cost to subscribers. After that initial month, films will leave HBO Max and continue to be shown in theaters ahead of a typical release schedule for blu-ray, DVD and traditional formats.
The move from Warner Bros. will undoubtedly have a huge affect not only on the theater industry but it also challenges other studios to decide what will happen with their films over the next 12 months. While news about COVID-19 vaccines has been overwhelmingly positive, the roll out to make the medicine widely available will take several months if not the majority of 2021.
That leaves movie theaters in an incredibly tough position when trying to get audiences to return even after certain restrictions are lifted.
Meanwhile, major studios like Disney have just continued pushing back release dates for tentpole films like “Black Widow,” which was originally set for release back in May and now isn’t expected to drop until 2021. With Warner Bros. looking to grow HBO Max as a destination for TV and films, more studios might be pressured to follow suit or risk falling behind as bigger and bigger movies start dropping on streaming services over the next year.