In a new paradigm for geekdom and movies, Warner Bros. Dec. 3 announced it would launch all 2021 movie releases in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day. In effect, the studio is disregarding the traditional 90-day theatrical window in its entirety for 17 major titles in the pipeline for next year. This is at no additional cost to subscribers.
The titles include Wonder Woman 1984, Dune, The Matrix 4 , Space Jam 2, and The Suicide Squad, among others, and will be available for 30 days on Max, the SVOD service the studio’s parent company, WarnerMedia, launched over the summer.
The announcement was made by Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of the WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group (of which Warner Bros. is part), and Jason Kilar, CEO of WarnerMedia.
“We are living in unprecedented times, which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” Sarnoff said in a statement. “No one wants films back on the 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.”
Other titles releasing next year include: 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, Reminiscence, Malignant, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard and Cry Macho.
The studio announced last month it would run Wonder Woman 1984 simultaneously in theaters and on the streaming service on December 25. The decision followed the studio’s release of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in theaters last summer, which faced disappointing box office sales. Disney and Universal Studios have chosen to release some of their films directly on streaming services including Mulan and Trolls: World Tour, respectively. Unlike those two movies, however, the Warner Bros.’ theatrical slate won’t cost HBO Max subscribers anything extra.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said in Thursday’s blog post :”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.”
Movies are made to be seen in a theater with a very large screen, multichannel audio, and a crowd. Until the pandemic is ended, here are some movie options:
- Netflix ($8.99 per month)
- HBO ($14.99 per month)
- Disney Plus ($6.99 per month)
- Hulu ($5.99 per month)
- Amazon Prime Video ($119 per year/9.92 per month)
- CBS All Access ($5.99 per month)
HBO Max is the most expensive, but none of the others have all films, including new releases, available in 4K Ultra HD and HDR.