Warner Bros will stream all 2021 movies on HBO Max

Warner Bros has announced that all of its 17 slated movies for 2021 will be available for streaming on HBO Max. The movies will be released on HBO Max the same day as the theatrical release date. The historic announcement has rocked the theatre industry and has left cinephile people perplexed. 

The movies will be available for streaming on HBO Max for one month since their release date. It will be available to existing subscribers of the streaming platform for no extra cost. People can watch the movies in theatres if it is safe to do so or can choose to stream it from the comfort of their homes. 

The list contains several big names that could potentially have hit the $1 billion mark in a non-pandemic world. ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ ‘Mortal Kombat’ and the new ‘Matrix’ movie are among the big-budget films that will be available for streaming on HBO Max – the same day the flick hits the theatres. 

Warner Bros had earlier announced that Wonder Wonder 1984 will have a simultaneous release on HBO Max on December 25. If you thought that was a brave move, then this new announcement should leave you shell shocked.  

WarnerMedia will be a sacrificing a huge cut of the box office revenue to gain more HBO subscribers. The studio will be hoping that their contentious move pays out and brings in a massive increase in numbers to the streaming platform. 

However, this news is all but abominable for theatres. The industry has been in shatters since the pandemic closed down shutters of cinema halls. Many chains were counting on the big blockbusters of 2020 and 2021 to bring in audiences to the now-empty cinema halls. 

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Image: Warner Bros

However, this news is all but abominable for theatres. The industry has been in shatters since the pandemic closed down shutters of cinema halls. Many chains were counting on the big blockbusters of 2020 and 2021 to bring in audiences to the now-empty cinema halls. 

The surprising move by Warner Bros has been met by strong opposition from directors and known personalities from the industry. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Director Christoper Nolan expressed his dismay at the studio’s decision. 

“Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.” 

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Image: Warner Bros

Nolan has so far made nine motion pictures with Warner Bros. The AT&T owned studio had earlier released the director’s Tenet in August, which made just $357. 8 million at the box office. Many cinemas chains had hoped that the anticipated blockbuster would bring in scared moviegoers backs to theatres. However, the paltry revenue of the film downcast all expectations.

It’s also pivotal to note that HBO Max is currently only available in the United States. If Warner Bros wants to actualize their intention of gaining more subscribers, they will need to tie-up with regional streaming services to increase their outreach. Something similar to what Disney Plus has done by tying up with Hotstar in India. 

Another subject matter that filmmakers are afraid of is piracy. Once the film is available for streaming, the best ‘copy’ of it is available for people to download on the internet. Piracy has always been a big concern for the film industry but having a same-day release further aggravates the grim situation. In fact, HBO fantasy drama series Game of Thrones was the most pirated show of all time. 

Warner Bros has indicated that the move will only be a one-year thing. But one year might prove enough to change the way the film industry releases films. This move might also prompt other studios to follow suit with Warner Bros’ idea of a hybrid release. Disney Plus has earlier charged viewers $30 for Mulan, on top of the existing subscription price. 

dune warner bros and hbo max
Image: Warner Bros

Reports have even stated that Legendary Entertainment may take legal action against Warner Bros for having a simultaneous release on HBO Max and theatres. The production company has co-financed ‘Dune’ and ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ which were being distributed by Warner Bros in 2021. 

Despite financing a large slab of the big-budget movies, Legendary was oblivious to the flabbergasting move by Warner Bros. Negotiations are underway between the two, but Legendary may be eyeing a breach of contract term if things get out of hand. Another recourse is that Warner Bros might acquire ‘Dune’ and ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ to end the squabble between the two.

In response to the simultaneous release on HBO Max Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff stated, “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 theatres in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021.”

Take a look at every single movie that will be hitting theatres and streaming on HBO Max the same day.

1. The Little Things – January 29, 2021

2. Tom And Jerry: Movie – March 5, 2021

3. The Many Saints Of Newark – March 12, 2021

4. Reminiscence – April 16, 2021

5. Godzilla Vs. Kong – May 21, 2021

6. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – June 4, 2021

7. In The Heights – June 18, 2021

8. Space Jam: A New Legacy – July 16, 2021

9. The Suicide Squad – August 6, 2021

10. Dune – October 1, 2021

11. King Richard – November 19, 2021

12. The Matrix 4 – December 22, 2021

13. Judas And The Black Messiah – 2021 (TBA)

14. Mortal Kombat –  2021 (TBA)

15. Those Who Wish Me Dead – 2021 (TBA)

16. Malignant – 2021 (TBA)

17. Cry Macho – 2021 (TBA)