HBO Max: Warner Bros. Pictures Group Announces Innovative, Hybrid Distribution Model For Its 2021 Theatrical Slate


Warner Bros. Pictures Group Announces Innovative, Hybrid HBO Max Distribution Model For Its 2021 Theatrical Slate

Consumer-Focused Initiative Combines Traditional Theatrical Release Windows Worldwide With Exclusive Concurrent One Month Streaming Access Period Domestically On HBO Max

In somewhat shocking, but totally expected, yet unexpected news. I know that sentence is a lot to take in in 2020 but its somewhat eerily normal. Warner Bros. Pictures Group announced that it has committed to releasing its 2021 film slate via a unique, consumer-focused distribution model in which Warner Bros. will continue to exhibit the films theatrically worldwide, while adding an exclusive one month access period on the HBO Max streaming platform in the U.S. concurrent with the film’s domestic release.

The hybrid model was created as a strategic response to the impact of the ongoing global pandemic, particularly in the U.S. Following the one month HBO Max access period domestically, each film will leave the platform and continue theatrically in the U.S. and international territories, with all customary distribution windows applying to the title. All films will be available in 4K Ultra HD and HDR on HBO Max. This announcement was made today by Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group (of which Warner Bros. is part), and Jason Kilar, CEO, WarnerMedia.

Warner Bros. Pictures Group’s 2021 expected* release slate currently includes The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In The Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Reminiscence, Malignant, Dune, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard, Cry Macho and Matrix 4. 
 
“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” said Sarnoff. “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 theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021. With this unique one-year plan, we can support our partners in exhibition with a steady pipeline of world-class films, while also giving moviegoers who may not have access to theaters or aren’t quite ready to go back to the movies the chance to see our amazing 2021 films. We see it as a win-win for film lovers and exhibitors, and we’re extremely grateful to our filmmaking partners for working with us on this innovative response to these circumstances.”
 
“After considering all available options and the projected state of moviegoing throughout 2021, we came to the conclusion that this was the best way for WarnerMedia’s motion picture business to navigate the next 12 months,” said Kilar. “More importantly, we are planning to bring consumers 17 remarkable movies throughout the year, giving them the choice and the power to decide how they want to enjoy these films. Our content is extremely valuable unless it’s sitting on a shelf not being seen by anyone. We believe this approach serves our fans, supports exhibitors and filmmakers, and enhances the HBO Max experience, creating value for all.”
 
“This hybrid exhibition model enables us to best support our films, creative partners, and moviegoing in general throughout 2021,” said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group. “We have a fantastic, wide-ranging slate of titles from talented and visionary filmmakers next year, and we’re excited to be able to 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.”

HBO Max

This news comes off the heels of the recent news of Wonder Woman 1984 releasing simultaneously in theaters worldwide and HBO Max on Christmas Day. Although international moviegoers will be able to watch the film on December 16th. This news changes the landscape of feature film entertainment for the foreseeable future and we can only assume that when 2022 comes around that the scales in which films release will be much smaller but more effective for films that would otherwise bomb at the box office.

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