Warner Bros. has announced that they will release all of their 2021 movies in theaters and HBO Max simultaneously. This includes big tentpoles like The Suicide Squad and Dune. The studio previously made the decision to release Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters and HBO Max on Christmas Day, which they have been applauded for. It seems that the positive feedback they received worked out enough for them to go all in with their 2021 projects.
All of the Warner Bros. 2021 movies will open in theaters and debut on HBO Max at the same time. However, there is a catch. The movies will only be shown for one month on the streaming platform before being taken down. From there, the movies will only be played on the big screen. This list includes major tentpoles like Godzilla vs. Kong, The Suicide Squad Timothée Chalamet's Dune and Keanu Reeves' Matrix 4, along with a ton of other eagerly awaited movies. It is believed that this program will last for one year.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar revealed why they chose to try a new business model in a statement. Studios have been trying to figure out a way to satisfy viewers and theater chains at the same time, though it has proven to be difficult. With that being said, Warner Bros. is leading the pack in terms of innovation sparked by necessity. Kilar had this to say.
"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."
Jason Kilar added, "We see an opportunity to do something firmly focused on the fans, which is to provide choice." Kilar went on to state that Warner Bros. will release a new movie about every three weeks. "Whether that choice is to enjoy a great new movie out at the cinema, to open up HBO Max, or to do both." Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, said that "unprecedented times" led to "creative solutions." You can read the rest of what Sarnoff had to say below.
"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."
Warner Bros. is also releasing The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In the Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Reminiscence, Malignant, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard, and Cry Macho. All eyes are going to be on Warner Bros. over the next several months to see how this all works out. Additionally, it will also be interesting to see if all of these movies end up keeping their 2021 release dates. The Wrap was one of the first outlets to announce the 2021 Warner Bros. release plan.