Just a little over an hour ago, Warner Bros. made the massive announcement that all of their 2021 films would be getting simultaneous month-long HBO Max releases at the same time as their theatrical releases. This is a massive change for the distribution model of massive blockbuster movies and something that the theater industry has seen on the horizon for years but chose to ignore. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced the industry to grapple with the future of streaming and how that will change the distribution models of the future. Cinemark has become the first major theater chain to respond to the announcement via Deadline.
"In light of the current operating environment, we are making near-term booking decisions on a film-by-film basis. At this time, Warner Bros. has not provided any details for the hybrid distribution model of their 2021 films."
It's a much more understated response than AMC Theatres had earlier this year when Universal decided not to delay Trolls World Tour and instead decided to release it on VOD. Approximately ten years ago, in April, AMC said that they would not show any Universal movies after they made the decision with Trolls World Tour. However, that was a long time ago and back when we all thought the pandemic might be over by the summer. The reality of the situation is setting in, and AMC backtracked their refusal to show Universal movies and instead struck a new deal that would let new releases go to VOD after seventeen days. Cinemark also announced a similar deal with Universal, but no other studios announced such deals. We should expect responses from AMC Theatres, Regal, and even NATO [National Association of Theater Owners] sometime today.