Warner Bros. Pictures basically announced today that the future of movies is now…or at least 2021. Following the industry shaking announcement last month that one of Warner Bros. Pictures tentpole films, Wonder Woman 1984, would be releasing on HBO Max and in select theaters on Christmas day, the studio took the next logical step today, announcing that its full slate of 2021 films would follow the same model and release simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters.
That means the following films, currently slated for 2021, will be available both in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day:
Judas and the Black Messiah
Mortal Kombat – January 15, 2021
The Little Things – January 29, 2021
Godzilla vs. Kong – May 21, 2021
In The Heights – June 18, 2021
Space Jam: A New Legacy – July 16, 2021
The Suicide Squad – August 6, 2021
Dune – October 1, 2021
Matrix 4 – December 22, 2021
This is obviously huge news for the entertainment industry as a whole, and especially for studios and theaters. While there’s optimism that a COVID-19 vaccine is on the way, there are bound to be a bevy of logistical challenges that come with distribution, availability and other issues. Everyone hopes that 2021 will be the much needed respite from the seemingly endless doom and gloom that 2020 gave us, but the reality is that there’s still so much unknown.
Industries across the board have had to adjust to the new normal, and while it’s not easy for any large corporation to make historic shifts, this is the right move for Warner Bros. Pictures. It’s the proper recognition of the current reality, and the embracing of the current and ongoing trend towards video on demand. I love the theater experience and I can’t wait to go watch an IMAX or Dolby Atmos film, but honestly, I don’t know when that will be. I’m glad that Warner Bros. Pictures won’t make me pick and choose, and I know that I can watch all of the above listed films and more from the safety of my home.
Check out the sizzle reel and additional details on this exciting announcement below!
Warner Bros. Pictures Group Announces Innovative, Hybrid 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
December 3, 2020 – Burbank, CA – Today, the 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 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.”
About Warner Bros. Pictures Group:
Warner Bros. Pictures Group includes Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, Warner Animation Group and DC-based film production. Warner Bros. partners with the world’s most inspiring storytellers to create extraordinary entertainment on every screen for the global audience. Warner Bros. Pictures Group has been at the forefront of the motion picture industry since its inception and continues to be a leading creative force, producing the broadest slate of films comprised of worldwide theatrical releases and films premiering exclusively on HBO Max. To date, Warner Bros. remains the only studio to cross the $1 billion mark both domestically and internationally 19 years in a row—an industry record.
About HBO Max:
HBO Max® is WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer offering, with 10,000 hours of curated premium content. HBO Max offers best in class quality entertainment, featuring the greatest array of storytelling for all audiences with the iconic brands of HBO, Warner Bros., DC, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and much more. Website: HBOMax.com
*Films and release dates subject to change.
Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture. He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.