So the headline says it all, Warner Bros. has announced today that all the films being released in 2021 will release in the US via cinemas and on HBO Max the same day which cause massive repercussions for the future of the big screen experience.
17 films are currently slated for 2021 including
Mortal Kombat – Jan 15
The Little Things – Jan 29
Tom and Jerry – Mar 5
The Many Saints of Newark – Mar 12
Reminiscence – Apr 16
Godzilla vs. Kong – May 21
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – Jun 4
In the Heights – Jun 18
Space Jam: A New Legacy – Jul 16
The Suicide Squad – Aug 6
Dune – Oct 1
Elvis – Nov 5
King Richard – Nov 19
Matrix 4 – Dec 22
And three films that are currently undated Judas and the Black Messiah, Malignant & Those Who Wish Me Dead.
The films above will debut on HBO Max the same day as cinemas will get the film, the movies will only be on HBO Max for 30 days though. Now this is worrying for two reasons, will Warner Bros. go back to a fully theatrical experience after 2021? and are the cinemas going to be compensated for this? Now we do have answer for the first question but the second I highly doubt, sometimes the studios will talk to the cinema owners to get input before these kinds of announcements but who knows it that actually happened.
Here’s a statement from Warner Bros.
“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” said 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.”
“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,” said WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar. “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.”
“This hybrid exhibition model enables us to best support our films, creative partners and moviegoing in general throughout 2021,” said Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich. “We have a fantastic, wide-ranging slate of titles from talented and visionary filmmakers next year, and we’re excited to be able get these movies in front of audiences around the world. And, as always, we’ll support all of our releases with innovative and robust marketing campaigns for their theatrical debuts, while highlighting this unique opportunity to see our films domestically via HBO Max as well.”
Now let me go on a rant for what this means for Australia… In Australia we will still be getting those films in cinemas which don’t get me wrong is fantastic for us because personally nothing beats the big screen experience but what this also means is that a lot of the films that go to HBO Max will be “leaked” online rather quickly after they hit which will obviously cause issues with the Australia Box Office and cinemas themselves and after such a struggle of a year in 2020 I was really hoping the studios would try and back them more moving forward. Now if I was a cinema owner in Australia I would be actively talking to Warners (good chance they already are) and asking for release dates here to be bought forward a week or two at least, Warners aren’t stupid they know the risks of what they are doing so I really do hope that could possibly happen.
Anyways by what Warners say this will only be happening in 2021 but what happens if HBO Max gets an unprecedented amount of new subscribers like I’m talking about 10’s of millions? Will Warners change their mind? So its all a little worrying personally.
I guess only time will tell.