Warner Bros. Is Dropping Its Entire 2021 Slate on HBO Max The Same Day The Films Hit Theaters
The seismic shift to streaming in Hollywood was heard loud and clear today. The movie industry will never be the same after WarnerMedia's huge decision to utilize their entire 2021 film slate for HBO Max.
Similar to WarnerMedia's decision to release Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max on the same day it hits theaters. The company decided they wanted to do that with their entire 2021 slate. This strategy is currently being referred to as a “unique one-year plan.” But analysts and fans alike are already wondering if this will end up being WarnerMedia's long-term strategy which would have a big effect on movie theaters.
The movies day-and-date release strategy is due to the global health crisis. WarnerMedia obviously believes that normal moviegoing in the United States won't be able to happen until 2022. A part of me wonders if this strategy will change let's say by July 2021? What if the vaccine distribution is successful and COVID-19 comes under control? Would this prompt HBO Max changing their same-day strategy?
The 2021 HBO Max slate now includes Keanu Reeves' The Matrix 4, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical adaptation of In the Heights, The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark, and James Gunn's The Suicide Squad. Denzel Washington’s thriller The Little Things, the biographical drama Judas and the Black Messiah, a remake of Tom and Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong (although film partners like Legendary Pictures weren't told of the move to HBO Max), video game adaptation Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Lebron James' Space Jam: A New Legacy, Reminiscence, James Wan’s Malignant and sports drama King Richard. Those are all also coming to HBO Max on the same day they hit theaters.
The entire 17 film slate for Warner Bros. in 2021 will be on HBO Max on the same day the films arrive in theaters. It will be fascinating to see HBO Max's subscriber growth and the financial impact of these films. This type of deal will likely change how producers, actors, and screenwriters get paid. Especially when you take out the box office.
“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.”
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