Friday, 4 December 2020

Warner Bros. to release movies in 2021 on HBO Max



Is this the end of mainstream cinema as we know it in the wake of a global pandemic?

Warner Bros. will release all-new movies simultaneously in selected theatres and on HBO Max in 2021 in a paradigm-shifting move that will have repercussions for the way Hollywood movies are distributed day-one.

The announcement was made by Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group (of which Warner Bros. is part) and Jason Kilar, CEO, WarnerMedia.

“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” said Sarnoff. “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 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 Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group. “We have a fantastic, wide-ranging slate of titles from talented and visionary filmmakers next year, and we’re excited to be able to 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 Walt Disney Company trialled the release of its live-action Mulan, at a premium price, on Disney+ last September and Pixar's critically-acclaimed Soul will be available to stream on Christmas Day.

HBO Max will be rolled out to international markets from next year with Sky in the UK purportedly showing Wonder Woman 1984 only a few weeks after it's in selected cinemas this Christmas.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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