Warner Bros has announced that it will release all of its 2021 movie releases simultaneously on both its HBO Max streaming services and in theaters.
Variety reports the plan will follow the model of the scheduled Christmas Day release of “Wonder Woman 1984,” which will premiere on HBO Max at the same time it debuts in theaters. Warner Bros will make their 2021 releases available to HBO Max subscribers for 31 days.
The 2021 Warner Bros release slate includes:
- “The Matrix 4”
- Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” remake
- Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical adaptation of “In the Heights”
- The “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark”
- “The Suicide Squad”
- Denzel Washington’s thriller “The Little Things”
- Biographical drama “Judas and the Black Messiah”
- A remake of “Tom and Jerry”
- “Godzilla vs. Kong”
- Video game adaptation “Mortal Kombat”
- Angelina Jolie’s “Those Who Wish Me Dead”
- “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It”
- “Space Jam: A New Legacy”
- “Reminiscence” with Hugh Jackman
- James Wan’s “Malignant”
- The Will Smith sports drama “King Richard.”
After the 31-day HBO Max run has completed, the movies will continue to play in theaters, then make their traditional home entertainment runs through online streaming platforms like iTunes, Google Play, and others. It’s unclear when the titles will return to HBO Max.
Variety says that in order to get theaters on board and allow Warners to break its theatrical contract for “Wonder Woman 1984,” the studio is giving cinemas a more generous cut of ticket sales. Theater chains are receiving as much as 60% of revenues. But sources say that won’t be the case for upcoming releases.
WarnerMedia chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff referred to the model as a “unique one-year plan.”
“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” Sarnoff said 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,” she continued. “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.”
Warner Bros executives say this isn’t a permanent solution, but instead expect the initiative to expire in 2022, as the move is a temporary solution due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.