Tech News: Warner Bros to switch back to theater-first release plan in 2022.
Warner Bros has plans to return to normal for its major films next year. The current strategy of releasing all the studio movies on HBO Max and theaters on the same day won’t continue after 2021. Jason Kilar, CEO of parent company WarnerMedia, told Recode that Warner Bros will revert to the old model of a theatrical room cinematic. premiere for major movies and then stream them on HBO Max at a later time.
In 2021, all theatrical releases of Warner Bros will be available to all HBO Max subscribers for 30 days. This means that subscribers will initially have one month to watch Godzilla vs Kong, Mortal Kombat, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Dune, and The Matrix 4 at no additional cost. The films are expected to be available again later on on HBO Max.
If you want to see The Batman on its opening weekend in March, you’ll have to go to the movies. But not just any cinema. Next year, Regal Cinemas in the US (for 45 days) and Cineworld in the UK (for 31-45 days) will have the first rights to all Warner Bros theatrical releases before they can be seen elsewhere. So while Warner Bros had already planned a return to a first-time theatrical-only model in 2023, next year isn’t a big surprise.
Clearly, WarnerMedia plans to return to business in the near future as vaccination programs continue to grow. There are already some signs of life for the film industry, as Godzilla vs Kong became one of the biggest movie hits of the pandemic era, with a $ 50 million home opening last weekend.
WarnerMedia’s decision to stream all 2021 releases on HBO Max at the same time they hit theaters has been widely criticized by HBO insiders and other industry figures, including Tenet director Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve of Dune.