Fans and industry observers are shook after learning that Warner Bros. plans to send its entire slate of films in 2021 to HBO Max and theaters simultaneously. Warner Bros. announced last month that Wonder Woman 1984 would land on HBO Max and in theaters at the same time Christmas Day, but most thought it was a blip related to the pandemic.
The films this affects include: The Matrix 4, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune remake, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical adaptation of In the Heights, Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark, Denzel Washington’s The Little Things, a remake of Tom and Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat and The Suicide Squad.
WarnerMedia chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff referred to the model as a “unique one-year plan,” with execs saying it won’t extend into 2022.
“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” Sarnoff 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,” she continued. “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.”