It’s no secret that 2020 has brought about a consecutive number of “surprises” for us, including the COVID-19 pandemic. And due to said pandemic, many theatres were forced to close and countless films were delayed. In these times of uncertainties, Warner Bros. has made an unprecedented move to release all 17 movies for the 2021 slate concurrently in theatres and on HBO Max.
This means that subscribers to the streamer can watch these movies from the comfort of their homes at the same time as they are being released in theatres. Moreover, the movies will be available for one-month without any extra costs for current subscribers. These films will be joining Wonder Woman 1984, which will be released this year on the streamer in 4K Ultra HD.
Warner Bros. studio’s 2021 slate includes
- The Suicide Squad
- Matrix 4
- Dune (Denis Villeneuve’s remake)
- 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 (Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical adaptation)
- The Many Saints of Newark
- King Richard
- Cry Macho
Moreover, Both Ann Sarnoff; chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, and Jason Kilar; WarnerMedia CEO, agree that due to the current circumstances, it is likely that theatres will be operating on a lower audience count in 2021. As such, it is important to adapt and allow all fans to have the opportunity to enjoy the films from the Warner Bros. 2021 slate. Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich echoes similar sentiments (via Hollywood Reporter).
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.”
This hybrid streaming and theatrical release seem like the most viable solution to the reduced capacity in theatres. Fans can celebrate the new possibility to catch their highly anticipated films firsthand from the safety of their homes.
Furthermore, the release of these films exclusively on HBO Max may allow it to gain another foothold above its fellow streaming competitors such as Netflix and Disney+. It is quite unfortunate that HBO Max has removed their free trial as of now.
However, the need for Warner Bros. to introduce this new model for the 2021 slate also highlights to us the worryingly fragile state of the theatre landscape for the year ahead. We hope that in time to come, new cases of COVID-19 will reduce in numbers. But for now, remember to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines, mask up, and stay healthy.