The Warner Bros. studio has announced this Thursday that the 17 films that it plans to premiere in 2021 in the United States will do so simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, a platform currently only available in this country but predictably it could arrive in Spain in the middle of next year. The titles will be able to be seen during a month in the platform from the day of its premiere.
The streaming empire strikes back: Disney forgets movie theaters in times of coronavirus
The decision comes after the studio confirmed, a month ago, that the premiere of Wonder Woman 1984, scheduled in the United States for Christmas Day, would be done simultaneously in theaters and on the platform at no additional cost to subscribers.
“We live in unprecedented times, which require creativity to find solutions,” said Ann Sarnoff, president and CEO of Warner Media, explaining that the decision – which represents a revolution in the exhibition and film market – has been taken before the forecast that cinemas can only operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021.
The HBO Max service is not yet available in our country, but the company has announced that it will arrive in Europe and Latin America, predictably, during the second half of 2021, replacing HBO Spain as we know it.
Among the 17 films that will be released simultaneously there are highly anticipated titles. Some of these films have already seen their premieres delayed, as is the case of Godzilla vs. Kong, initially scheduled for November 2020 and that will not finally see the light until May next year.
The same will happen with the DC superhero sequel The Suicide Squad, the fourth installment Matrix or Dune by Denis Villeneuve, adaptation of the science fiction novel by Frank Herbert starring Timothée Chalamet and set to music by Hans Zimmer.
The announcement has been a real earthquake in the North American film industry: this Thursday the price of the shares of the largest film exhibition chains in the country fell. Those of AMC Entertainment, the world’s leading operator of movie theaters, have plunged more than 15% and those of Cinemark almost 20%.
“Our content is very valuable, we do not want it to be on a shelf and no one sees it. We believe that this approach serves our fans, supports exhibitors and filmmakers and enhances the HBO Max experience,” said Jason Kilar, CEO. of Warner Media and formerly a co-founder of Hulu, one of the first streaming in the U.S.
Warner is not the only company that has been forced to adapt its business model because of the coronavirus. Disney made the drastic decision, last September, to release Mulan on its Disney + platform regardless of movie theaters. Of course, the film was not part of the catalog that subscribers have access to, but in order to see it it was necessary to pay $ 30.
Disney’s experiment with the premiere of Mulan it did not reach the objectives that the company had set, but they have decided to continue betting on this model. Soul It will be released on December 25th worldwide through the platform, thus becoming the first Pixar feature film that does not go through theaters, although in this case it will be available to all those who subscribe to the service, without the need for an additional payment.
A decision that has cost him some complaints, such as that of the International Union of Cinemas, which says it does not understand these measures in territories such as Europe, where measures to fight COVID in movie theaters have been proven successful.