In a decision with far-reaching consequences for the future of theatrical exhibition and streaming services, Warner Bros will release its entire 2021 slate simultaneously in cinemas and HBO Max.
The films that will released in this day-and-date model are Wonder Woman 1984, The Suicide Squad, The Matrix 4, Dune, Godzilla vs Kong, 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.
HBO Max is currently available only in the United States. In India, it is expected to be available through Amazon’s Fire TV Stick device several months down the line. Wonder Woman 1984 will be released in cinemas in India on December 24, a day ahead of its US rollout.
The Warner Bros titles will be available to HBO Max subscribers for a 31-day period, after which they will be screened only in cinemas if they sustain their run.
“The shocking move to release movies day-and-date underscores the crisis facing movie theaters and the rising importance of streaming services in the wake of a global health crisis that’s decimated the film exhibition community,” Variety noted. Warner Bros executives told Variety that “the initiative isn’t expected to continue into 2022 or beyond” and is a “temporary solution in response to the ongoing global heath crisis”.
The United States is reporting an average of 1.8 lakh Covid-19 positive cases per day. “As of Friday morning, more than 14,216,900 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 276,300 have died…” the New York Times reported.