In some absolutely huge news coming out of Hollywood today, Warner Bros. has announced that it is moving its entire 2021 release slate to the simultaneous HBO Max and theatrical release model that it is employing for this month’s Wonder Woman 1984.
Each of its theatrical releases next year will debut simultaneously on HBO Max in the United States and theatrically worldwide, with HBO Max subscribers gaining access to the films for the entire first month of release in 4K Ultra HD with HDR.
The list of titles set for the hybrid release model 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 The Matrix 4.
“The hybrid model was created as a strategic response to the impact of the ongoing global pandemic, particularly in the U.S.,” reads the official WarnerMedia statement. “Following the one month HBO Max access period domestically, each film will leave the platform and continue theatrically in the U.S. and international territories, with all customary distribution windows applying to the title.”
“After considering all available options and the projected state of moviegoing throughout 2021, we came to the conclusion that this was the best way for WarnerMedia’s motion picture business to navigate the next 12 months,” adds Jason Kilar, CEO of WarnerMedia. “More importantly, we are planning to bring consumers 17 remarkable movies throughout the year, giving them the choice and the power to decide how they want to enjoy these films. Our content is extremely valuable, unless it’s sitting on a shelf not being seen by anyone. We believe this approach serves our fans, supports exhibitors and filmmakers, and enhances the HBO Max experience, creating value for all.”
“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” states Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks 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 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.”
What do you make of this news? Where will it leave theaters a year from now? Let us know your thoughts on our social channels @FlickeringMyth…