The Warner Bros. studio announced this Thursday that the 17 films it plans to release in 2021 in the United States will do so simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, a platform currently only available in this country and that it will arrive to Spain in the middle of next year. The titles will be available for a month on the platform from the day of their release.
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 without any additional cost for 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 Given 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 in the second half of 2021, replacing HBO.
Among the 17 films that will be released simultaneously there are titles highly anticipated by both the company and the fans that were expected to translate into a very good box office result. Some of these films have already seen their releases delayed, such as’ Godzilla vs. Kong ‘, scheduled for November 2020 and will not hit theaters (and platforms) until May next year.
The same will happen with the long-awaited DC superhero sequel ‘The Suicide Squad’, the fourth installment ‘The Matrix’, which will again star Keanu Reeves, or ‘Dune’ by Denis Villeneuve, an adaptation of the science fiction novel by Frank Herbert starring Timothée Chalamet and set by Hans Zimmer.
The announcement has been a real earthquake in the North American film industry, causing the price of the shares of the largest film exhibition chains in the country to fall this Thursday. 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 improves the HBO Max experience,” said Jason Kilar, director. WarnerMedia executive and former co-founder of Hulu, one of the first streaming in the U.S.
Warner Bros. 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 premiere ‘Mulán’ on its Disney + platform, dispensing with theaters. Of course, the film was not part of the catalog that subscribers have access to, but to be able to see it it was necessary to pay $ 30, arguing that it is the price that a family would pay to do it in a movie theater.
Disney’s experiment with the premiere of ‘Mulán’ did not reach the objectives that the company had set, but they have decided to continue betting on this model. The highly anticipated ‘Soul’ will premiere on December 25 worldwide through the platform, thus becoming the first Pixar film that does not go through theaters, although in this case it will be available to all those who are subscribed to the service, without the need for 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.