Forget seeing movies in theaters next year.
Warner Bros. announced Thursday that it will concurrently stream its full slate of 2021 films on HBO Max for one month after they premiere in theaters. The list of films set to drop includes expected blockbusters like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights,” the “Dune” reboot featuring Timothée Chalamet and “The Matrix 4,” the latest installment of the Keanu Reeves sci-fi franchise.
The decision was made to combat losses due to theater shutdowns in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Ann Sarnoff, chairperson and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, said that “unprecedented times” called for a “creative solution” heading into the new year.
The company just last month announced that it would debut Gal Gadot’s “Wonder Woman” on Christmas Day following a Dec. 16 theatrical premiere.
The Warner Bros. slate of films currently includes these 17 titles:
- “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”
- “The Many Saints of Newark”
- “King Richard”
- “Cry Macho”
- “The Matrix 4”
“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,” said Sarnoff in a statement. “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 executives hope the plan will help stave off the erosion of creative output from COVID-19.
“Our content is extremely valuable, unless it’s sitting on a shelf not being seen by anyone,” added Jason Kilar, CEO of WarnerMedia. “We believe this approach serves our fans, supports exhibitors and filmmakers, and enhances the HBO Max experience, creating value for all.”