Warner Bros. surprised everyone last month when they announced that Wonder Woman 1984 would be released on HBO Max and in theaters both on Christmas Day. The film would remain on HBO Max, the company’s streaming service, for one month before staying in theaters.
Now, Warner Bros. has announced that it won’t just be Wonder Woman 1984 that gets the streaming service treatment at its release. The company will be releasing its entire 2021 film slate on HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously.
Among the 17 films that will be released include 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.
Warner Bros. released a promo video for the big news:
“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” said Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios. “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.”
From the sound of it, Warner Bros. is hoping that this venture will draw in more audiences to HBO Max, which has only signed on 8.6 million U.S. subscribers since its launch last May. Warner Bros. hopes to have 50 million subscribers by 2025.
“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. 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.”
Which Warner Bros. film are you most looking forward to in 2021?