Every New Warner Bros. Movie Coming To HBO Max in 2021
Warner Bros. Shows its full roster of films, including Dune and The Matrix 4, on HBO Max and in theaters over the next year.
When Warner Bros. announced that «Wonder Woman 1984» will appear on HBO Max streaming service at Christmas in conjunction with its theater debut, many expected it to be just an experiment in response to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, the studio will deploy a similar full-blown strategy to promote its releases over the next 12 months. This is an unexpected departure from industry standards: the entire list of 17 Warner Bros. for 2021, including «Matrix 4», remake «Dunes» Denis Villeneuve, musical adaptation of the film «In the heights» Lin-Manuel Miranda, prequel «Soprano», «Many saints of Newark» and «Suicide squad» will debut on both HBO Max and in theaters on their respective release dates. Shocking move to simultaneously release films on streaming service and in theaters underscores the crisis facing the film industry and also points to the growing importance of streaming services in the wake of the global health crisis that has re-prioritized moviegoers.
In the 2021 release plan, Warner Bros. also includes thriller Denzel Washington «Little things», biographical drama «Judas and the Black Messiah», remake «Tom and Jerry», «Godzilla vs. King Kong», video game adaptation «Mortal kombat», film Angelina Jolie «Those who wish me death»,«Conjuring: The devil made me do it»,«Space Jam: A New Legacy»,«Memory» with Hugh Jackman,«Malignant» James Wang and sports drama Will Smith «King Richard».
In the short term, the move will have some long-awaited effect on HBO Max, which claims to compete with Netflix, which launched last spring without causing much fuss. One of WarnerMedia’s key competitors, Walt Disney, has raised its share price by investing in streaming services such as Disney Plus, even as its major theme parks and movie businesses have suffered losses. WarnerMedia and its parent corporation AT&T are likely to take a similar step to meet Wall Street expectations.
As well as «Wonder Woman 1984», films that Warner Bros. plans to release in 2021, will be available to HBO Max subscribers for one month. After this period, films will be shown in cinemas until they move into traditional home entertainment format. Viewers will then be able to watch them through online platforms such as Amazon, iTunes or Fandango..
Chairman and CEO, WarnerMedia Ann Sarnoff named this model «unique annual plan». The company’s management stressed that this initiative will not last in 2022 or later – it is considered a temporary solution in response to the ongoing global health crisis..
«We live in unprecedented times that require creative solutions, including this new initiative for Warner Bros. Pictures Group, Sarnoff said in a statement. – Nobody wants to bring movies back to the big screen more than we do. We know that new content is the lifeblood, but we have to balance that with the fact that most cinemas in the US are likely to operate with limited bandwidth during 2021.».
«With this unique one-year plan, we will be able to support our film business partners with a steady stream of world-class films, as well as provide moviegoers who may not have access to cinemas or are not quite ready to return to cinema the chance to see our amazing 2021 films, she continued. “We see this as a win-win for moviegoers, and we are extremely grateful to our filmmaking partners for working together on this innovative response to the current circumstances.».
More than 60% of US cinemas have closed again, and that number could continue to climb if hits rise over the holidays. Those that remain open are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Calling attention to this issue a few hours before Warner Bros. has revealed its plans, AMC has announced that it will sell up to 200 million shares to raise up to $ 834 million and increase its liquidity.
Warner Bros.’s announcement on Thursday is yet another example of how dramatically the coronavirus crisis has changed the relationship between movie studios and theater operators. Even after effective vaccines are approved for use, Warner Bros. assumes that the balance will never shift in favor of cinemas.
Universal’s agreement with theater chains AMC and Cinemark make them a true martyr. Under these agreements, the studio can post new films to premium video-on-demand platforms just 17 days after release. However, films that generate at least $ 50 million in weekend ticket sales will have to be shown exclusively in theaters for 31 days or five full weekends. Traditionally, new releases stay on the big screen for 75 to 90 days before moving to digital platforms with access for $ 19.99 a month. Universal agreed to give the two companies a cut of digital sales to keep them in the game. It’s unclear if cinemas will get any benefits from Warner Bros with their hybrid model..
Warner Bros., perhaps better than any of its competitors, knows how unforgiving the theater market can be in a pandemic. When the studio released in September «Tenet» Christopher Nolan in an attempt to resurrect a nationwide return to movie watching, the $ 200 million sci-fi epic largely failed at the box office. «Tenet» led to significant overseas sales, but income was low in the United States. As a result, the film is expected to generate millions in losses..
In an interview with Variety, the head of the studio Toby Emmerich said the hybrid plan came about after exploring various rental options «Wonder Women 1984». The international box office skyrocketed and even became hits in China and Japan. On the other hand, there were no films on the domestic market that came close to the level of blockbusters in ticket sales. HBO Max is only available in the US, so the new approach won’t impact international markets.
«We thought it would be a win-win and provide consumers with a better choice, ”he said. – Unfortunately, from the point of view of film distribution, the United States has always been one of the most difficult markets. Outside the US, in places such as China, South Korea, Japan and some Western European countries, our films will only be available in cinemas. We think these markets can perform better».
«After reviewing all the options available and the projected state of film production for 2021, we concluded that this is the best way for WarnerMedia’s film business to navigate the next 12 months, said WarnerMedia CEO. Jason Kilar. – More importantly, we plan to offer consumers 17 great films throughout the year, giving them the choice and the ability to decide how they want to enjoy those films. Our content is extremely valuable, unless it’s on the shelf and available to anyone. We believe this approach serves our fans, supports exhibitors and filmmakers, and empowers HBO Max to create value for everyone.».