In a movie that speaks of the new normal brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Warner Bros. has announced that they have a new release plan going forward. According to The Hollywood Reporter and a press release sent out by Warner Bros., all of the studio's 2021 releases will come out in theaters and HBO Max the same way that they are releasing Wonder Woman 1984 next month. The movies are still coming out in theaters and will be on HBO Max for a month, but they haven't announced what will happen after that. The movie is a game-changer and something that the movie industry has had to come to terms with the streaming market. The 2021 releases that this movie will include consists of seventeen massive titles such as The Suicide Squad, The Matrix 4, Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong and Space Jam: A New Legacy, Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In The Heights, Reminiscence, Malignant, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard and Cry Macho. The press release is below:
"We're living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group," said Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks 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 theaters or aren't quite ready to go back to the movies the chance to see our amazing 2021 films. 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."
"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."
"This hybrid exhibition model enables us to best support our films, creative partners and moviegoing in general throughout 2021," said Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich. "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."
The movie industry has been putting off the streaming question for years now, which is why they were so ill-prepared for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is the reality that they have been fighting off for years, and the pandemic just forced studios to finally look up to see the future. Is this the end for movie theaters? No, no, by a long shot, but there will be changes. I believe that there will always be a niche market for the movie theater experience, and it is something that people will want to return to once COVID-19 is under control. That being said, the bigger companies are likely going to be the ones that manage to make it through this [AMC, Regal, Cinemark], while mid-tier and more local theaters could be the ones hurt by this move more than anything.
If nothing else, you certainly have a reason to get an HBO Max subscription now.