Even though we all hoped things would start to look more normal in the new year, it turns out some things won't be back to normal for the foreseeable future. One of those things is how and where we watch new movies. Instead of flocking to our local theaters to catch the latest action flick or sweet rom-com, most theatrical releases were delayed or cancelled this past year. As we look ahead to next year, however, Warner Bros. revealed a bold new plan for how they'll be rolling out their upcoming releases.
Instead of delaying their films' release dates any further, Warner Bros. announced on Thursday (December 3) that every 2021 movie will be released on HBO Max at the same time they hit theaters. In a press release, HBO Max describe this move as "a a unique, consumer-focused distribution model" that will allow movie fans to catch new releases without compromising their health, safety or comfort. According to the announcement, after a one month streaming period on HBO Max in the United States, each film will leave the platform and continue theatrically in the U.S. and international territories. All films will be available in 4K Ultra HD and HDR on HBO Max.
“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group said in a statement. “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,” Jason Kilar, CEO of WarnerMedia, added. “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.”
The first film to follow this model will actually be Wonder Woman 1984, which premieres on Christmas Day. In 2021, HBO max subscribers can expect to see the following films debut on the platform: The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In The Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Reminiscence, Malignant, Dune, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard, Cry Macho and Matrix 4.