AMC Theatres is strongly against Warner Bros.' 2021 hybrid release strategy. The studio surprised the entertainment industry this morning when they announced that they will be releasing all of their 2021 movies on HBO Max and theaters simultaneously. While this is certainly great news for people who have been waiting to see these new movies, it could have a devastating effect on the industry as a whole.
Adam Aron, CEO and president of the AMC Entertainment spoke out against the new Warner Bros. release schedule for next year. Cinemark also commented on the plan today and they have similar feelings. AMC was all on board with the decision to release Wonder Woman 1984 using the hybrid method, but they are not behind the entire year. You can read what Aron had to say about the new deal's possible effects on the movie theaters.
"These coronavirus-impacted times are uncharted waters for all of us, which is why AMC signed on to an HBO Max exception to customary practices for one film only, Wonder Woman 1984, being released by Warner Bros. at Christmas when the pandemic appears that it will be at its height. However, Warner now hopes to do this for all their 2021 theatrical movies, despite the likelihood that with vaccines right around the corner the theatre business is expected to recover."
Adam Aron also says that his chain, "which operates 659 locations as the largest U.S. exhibitor, is being asked to subsidize HBO Max." Aron states, "Clearly, Warner Media intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max start up." As it stands, it looks like AMC is willing to fight Warner Bros. Aron had this to say about Warner Bros. using AMC to subsidize HBO Max.
"As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense. We will aggressively pursue economic terms that preserve our business. We have already commenced an immediate and urgent dialogue with the leadership of Warner on this subject."
While Adam Aron and AMC are going through some tough times, there is some good news on the horizon. He says, "As this issue gets sorted out, we are nonetheless encouraged that vaccines protecting society at large against the coronavirus are very much at hand." A few vaccines are currently on the fast track, but it's still going to be a little while longer for the world to wait. "So, it is our expectation that moviegoers soon will be able once again to delight in coming to our theatres without any worry - viewing the world's best movies safely in our big seats, with our big sound and on our big screens."
Warner Bros. seems to have every intention of moving on with their 2021 release date schedule. It is believed that many people in the industry were caught off guard by the studio's announcement this morning, and several are wondering if other studios will attempt to follow suit. For now, we'll just have to wait and see. The AMC comments on the new Warner hybrid system were first reported by Variety.