If you thought the end of the week was going to be dull, Warner Bros decided to change all that and thought “fuck it let’s change the whole film industry in one day.”
As news broke a couple of hours ago that WB will be doing a day-and-date for THEIR WHOLE 2021 SLATE!! In the US meaning, they will release 17 films including the likes of Godzilla vs Kong, Dune and The Suicide Squad on cinemas and HBO Max on the same day.
The studio plans to do what they’re doing with Wonder Woman 1984 but make it for every 2021 movie. The move means for one month all titles will be on the streaming service alongside theatrical before leaving the platform and return to a big screen exclusively.
This bold new move is shocking (still after the announcement a couple of hours ago) but not a surprising one because if WB didn’t do it, Disney is undoubtedly going to do the same shortly.
Because Hollywood studio was planning to do this within the next decade, but with the fire year of 2020 plans have been turbocharged and with that the industry model as changed.
Speaking of the Mouse House, this move has also come after Disney+ in the first year racked in an incredible 73.7 million subscribers and WarnerMedia (who owns WB and HBO Max) want those sort of or better numbers in their first year and getting off on a rocky start didn’t help.
In The Hollywood Reporter, WB studio heads stress this is a 2021 and pandemic rules only. Still, it’s hard to believe that because if you break and change something of this size returning the old model won’t work, especially if it works in a business sense for everyone.
For those worried that don’t have HBO Max, all these films will be released in theatres internationally (and in the case for the UK it will either include a new deal with Sky and Sky Cinema/Now TV or HBO Max comes to the UK).
Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros Chairman, think this won’t change a lot when it comes to their tentpole releases stating, “we think where theaters are open, and consumers can go, that a lot of people will choose to go to the theater, especially for big movies.”
God I hope so Toby because this move has become the first death knell to theatres, but I hope there they are releasing it in the US those cinema chains can receive a much more significant percentage of revenue.
However, on the positive side, this gives American customers choice because now they’ll be likely to see a film they weren’t interested in going to the cinema to see but now will check it out in the comfort of their homes.
Take Tom & Jerry and Space Jam 2. Families won’t have to worry about spending a fortune on eating out, popcorn and tickets and let’s be honest other people. They can just wack on HBO Max and eat food that’s in the house and relax more in their bubble.
Then realistically movies like Mortal Kombat, King Richard, Judas and the Black Messiah, Little Things and The Many Saints of Newark and possibly The Matrix 4 weren’t going to do massive box office numbers and could perform better on HBO Max.
Then you have something like In The Heights, which could’ve been one of those movies above, but the colours and atmosphere could get people wanting to see it on the big screen and have a party. On the other hand, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a film you see with your mates in a cinema and scare yourself shitless enjoying it.
Finally, you have massive tentpoles. No film screams SEE ME ON THE BIGGEST SCREEN HUMANLY POSSIBLE like Godzilla vs Kong, and the same goes for auteur directors like Denis Villeneuve and his adaptation of Dune.
It’ll be interesting to know what Christopher Nolan and his team are thinking right not because I can’t imagine he’s happy with this decision having pushed so hard to get Tenet released in theatres this summer.
I seriously won’t be surprised if we contact talk within the next couple of weeks and clauses in his contract stating he will have theatre only releases or we could see studios like Paramount make an offer.
The last thing I’ll say is what does this mean of physical media will Warner Bros being to phase those out in the US sooner than expected?