Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Suicide Squad, Matrix 4 and all 2021 Warner Bros. films to play on HBO Max and in cinemas at same time
It was revealed yesterday that Warner Bros. could potentially release Wonder Woman 1984 in the UK one month after its cinematic release on December 16, following on from November's announcement that the film would play on HBO Max for 30 days from Christmas Day. It seems there could be similar deals on the horizon as Warner Bros. has just announced that every film released by the studio next year will play on HBO Max and in US theatres on the same day.
The planned slate of films includes major tentpoles like Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Suicide Squad and Matrix 4. The other films to be released via this model include The Small Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mortal Kombat, Tom & Jerry, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In The Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Reminiscence, Malignant, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard and Cry Macho.
WarnerMedia Chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff said in a statement: “We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures 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 theatres or aren’t quite ready to go back to the movies the chance to see our amazing 2021 films,” Sarnoff 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.”
As it stands, this model is only be implemented by Warner Bros. for their 2021 slate. But it marks the biggest shift in the industry yet towards streaming and even with vaccines set to start rolling out over the coming months, there remains a lot of uncertainty about the state of the industry once things return to 'normal'.
“This hybrid exhibition model enables us to best support our films, creative partners and moviegoing in general throughout 2021,” Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich said in his own statement. “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.”