Did HBO Max Just Kill Movie Theaters?

Photo by Felix Mooneeram on Unsplash

Warner Bros will release their entire 2021 movie slate on HBO Max.

On Thursday, HBO Max made a move that is shaking up the entire film industry. The company announced that Warner Bros will primarily release its entire slate of new movies for exclusive streaming on the platform. After the films’ first month of release, the titles will leave HBO Max and be shown in theaters.

WarnerMedia Studios and Networks CEO Ann Sarnoff and CEO Jason Kilar made the announcement in a statement.

“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” Sarnoff said. “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.”

Upcoming Warner Bros. titles include DuneSpace Jam: A New LegacyMatrix 4, and Denzel Washington’s The Little Things.

The move would create a frightening precedent for major movie theater chains like AMC. If other streaming platforms strike deals with studios, it could be big trouble for that side of the industry. However, Warner Bros. Pictures Group COO Carolyn Blackwood assured fans that this is just a temporary plan for 2021.

“This is a temporary 2021 plan,” she said. “We don’t think we’re changing the economics of these movies any more than the pandemic has. We’re adding another interval and period for revenue with HBO Max.”

Read the company’s full statement at Deadline.

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