Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the film industry has had to make some big adjustments. After several release delays throughout the year, some films hit theaters and faced poor box office numbers while others went straight to streaming services. Now, it looks like Warner Bros. plans to do both.
This week, Warner Bros. announced that all of its 2021 films are heading to both theaters and to streaming. But, before you get too excited, there is a catch.
Over the year, we saw the film industry make some big decisions surrounding film releases. In September, Disney faced backlash after the live-action Mulan was released exclusively on Disney+. After numerous delays, Disney decided to exclusively premiere Mulan in the U.S. on the streaming service. However, many fans weren’t too excited about the $30 fee that was slapped on top of the monthly Disney+ subscription.
Christopher Nolan‘s Tenet was originally slated to arrive in July 2020. However, the film finally made its debut in theaters in September. According to Variety, Tenet grossed only $350 million globally in the first two months of its premiere. These sales figures show a significant decrease in ticket sales than the film may have seen without the ongoing pandemic.
Then, back in November, Warner Bros. announced a decision that surprised many and enthused DC fans. The highly-anticipated Wonder Woman: 1984 is officially hitting theaters on Dec. 25 in the U.S. As well, fans will also be able to stream the film on HBO Max.
Subscribers of the streaming platform will have access to watch Wonder Woman: 1984 free of charge. However, one month after the film’s release date, Wonder Woman: 1984 will be available to watch in theaters only.
Now, it looks like Warner Bros. is implementing these plans to all of its 2021 films. Titles including Dune, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The Suicide Squad and Matrix 4 will all premiere in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time. Following its one-month run on the streaming platform, the films will be available to watch in cinemas only.
WarnerMedia Chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff shares that these unprecedented times have led to big changes in the film industry.
“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” Sarnoff says. “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.”
At this time, the plans only apply to the 2021 Warner Bros. films. It is unknown how these changes may impact films slated to arrive in 2022. The full list of films heading to theaters and HBO Max in 2021 is available to view below.
Warner Bros. 2021 Films:
What are your thoughts on Warner Bros. releasing the 2021 films simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters? Which film are you looking forward to seeing most? Let us know in the comments below.