All 17 of Warner Bros' movies planned for 2021, including Matrix 4 and Dune, will be released simultaneously on HBO Max, in 4K HDR, and in theaters in the US.
In theaters and on HBO Max
In a dramatic turn of events, Warner Bros has announced that its entire 17-film motion picture slate for 2021 will be coming to HBO Max on day one. Each movie will be streaming on HBO Max for one month before leaving for an unspecified period of time.
- "We are announcing today that, in the United States, the entire anticipated 17-film 2021 Warner Bros. motion picture slate is going to be released throughout the coming year in theaters and on HBO Max the same day. That’s a Warner Bros. motion picture just about once every three weeks," Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia CEO, wrote in blog post.
Warner Bros' expected release slate for 2021 includes the following movies: 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 certainly not least Matrix 4.
All movies will debut on HBO Max at no extra cost, the company confirmed. It also said that "all films will be available in 4K Ultra HD and HDR on HBO Max".
Disney, Universal, Warner Bros
In the US, Universal has signed a deal with AMC Theaters to have movies debut on PVOD (premium video-on-demand) 17 days after the theatrical premiere, while Disney has moved major releases like Mulan, Hamilton and Soul from theaters to Disney+.
The move announced by Warner Bros, however, is more drastic. Although its movies will also play in theaters, the decision is seen as a major blow to the theatrical exhibition business as it covers all of the Warner Bros movies for 2021 – possibly beyond.
- "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," said Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios.
The move comes after Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros tried to reinvigorate theaters by releasing Tenet in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. Ironically, it may have been Tenet's poor performance, which lost Warner Bros millions of dollars, that prompted the studio to change its strategy.
Even more so than this year, 2021 should be a transformative year for the movie industry.
- Source: WarnerMedia, Warner Bros