Of course this year has been an absolute nightmare for film releases for obvious reasons. Warner Bros. have now decided to shake things up a bit and prepare for next year. Although a vaccine for Corona Virus has been announced and will most likely begin rolling out over the next few weeks, there is no guarantee that things will return to any kind of normality in the near future. So every film set for 2021 release from Warn Bros. will be available on HBO Max the same day it release in cinemas.
As reported by Deadline- "Following the one-month HBO Max access period domestically, each film will leave the platform and continue theatrically in the U.S. and international territories, with all customary distribution windows applying to the title."
The release, this morning, stated the hybrid model was created as a strategic response to the impact of the ongoing global pandemic.
Warner Bros. Pictures Group chief operating officer Carolyn Blackwood assured everyone that this was a temporary one year plan.
"This is a temporary 2021 plan. We have to support exhibition with the product. We don’t think we’re changing the economics of these movies any more than the pandemic has. We’re adding another interval and period for revenue with HBO Max."
The shock announcement was made earlier today by Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group 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. 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." - Ann Sarnoff
"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. 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." - Jason Kilar
"This hybrid exhibition model enables us to best support our films, creative partners and moviegoing in general throughout 2021. We have a fantastic, wide ranging slate of titles from talented and visionary filmmakers next year, and we’re excited to be able 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." - Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group
The list of films set to be released under this new model includes several huge films- 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.
This could potentially be incredibly damaging to cinemas, only time will tell I suppose. Hopefully this will not be the final nail in the coffin.