Warner Bros. has sent shock waves through Hollywood by announcing that they will be launching the entire film slate for 2021 on HBO Max and in cinemas simultaneously.
Having already announced that ‘Wonder Women 1984’ would be released in this manner in the US this Christmas, Warner will now see the entire slate of 17 films head to HBO Max for 31 days to Subscribers. After that time is up, the film will be available only in cinemas until it reaches its Home Entertainment release.
Warner’s current slate for 2021 includes ‘The Matrix 4’, Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’, ‘The Soprano’s’ prequel ‘The Many Saints of Newark’, James Gunn’s ‘The Suicide Squad’, ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ and Will Smith sports drama ‘King Richard.’
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Earlier in the year, Universal Pictures caused a major backlash film exhibitors when they announced a similar move to POD for their catalogue of films resulting in a deal which gives them a 17 days grace period before they can move to online platforms. As expected, AMC has since come out in opposition of Warner Bros decision to release immediately. Adam Aron, CEO and president of the AMC Entertainment cinema chain stated;
“Clearly, Warner Media intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max startup. As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense. We will aggressively pursue economic terms that preserve our business. We have already commenced an immediate and urgent dialogue with the leadership of Warner on this subject.”