Warner Bros. shook the industry this last week when they announced that the 2021 slate of films would go straight to HBO Max. This ignores the exclusive theatrical window that the industry has been accustomed to.
The backlash has been swift from both theaters and partners of WB. AMC claimed that WB was willing to sacrifice a “considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division” with this decision. That of course is not true as AMC’s fight against Universal proved that home releases have easier profit margins. Check out our past articles for more on that. Others are threatening to sue, like Christopher Nolan, who claims this is a breach of contract. WB must release the contracted films to a worldwide theater, and technically they still are. When a movie is released, it will be released on HBO Max and in theaters on the same day.
We at Geek Freaks generally side with this new hybrid release strategy. Some films will be better in a theater. Big spectacles like MCU movies and summer blockbusters are best as theater experiences. But for other lower-priority films, watching them at home is our best bet. The change to the industry will be rough to start with but eventually, lead to a secure future. Theaters will have to adjust and become more of an event. We are lucky enough to live in California where it has been happening for years. One theater has a full bar, another a restaurant, or maybe head to the drive-ins. The options and competition mean the consumers win. The old way of business must adapt or fail.
As for the WB films coming to HBO Max, they will start Christmas day with Wonder Woman. Again both in theaters and at home. Other major titles coming next year are Godzilla vs Kong, Suicide Squad, and Matrix 4. Check out the full list below. We will be reviewing most of these films both on the podcast and right here. Stay tuned!
- Wonder Woman – Dec. 25
- Mortal Kombat – Jan. 15
- The Little Things – Jan. 29
- Tom and Jerry – March 5
- The Many Saints of Newark – March 12
- Reminisce – April 16
- Godzilla vs. Kong – May 21
- The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – June 4
- In the Heights – June 18
- Space Jam: A New Legacy – July 16
- The Suicide Squad – Aug. 6
- Dune – Oct. 1
- King Richard – Nov. 19
- The Matrix 4 – Dec. 22