2020 was a game changer for cinemas with the UK lockdown seeing them close and open and close again with the same happening in the US and the release of major titles being postponed sometimes for over a year. The studios have toyed with releasing some of the films on streaming services most notably with Disney’s Mulan and Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984 which had the post pandemic opening of 2020. So successful was the latter release giving HBO Max a much needed boosts that Warners films for a 2021 cinema release will coincide with a HBO Max streaming service release.
It’s a bold and brave move for Warners films as they have some huge budgeted films on their slate that includes “The Matrix 4,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the third main feature in “The Conjuring” franchise, a reboot of “Mortal Kombat,the Will Smith-led sports drama “King Richard,” the Denzel Washington-led “The Little Things,” James Wan’s “Malignant,” Clint Eastwood’s “Cry Macho,” the new “Tom and Jerry” film, the historical drama “Judas and the Black Messiah,” as well as “In the Heights,” the Sopranos-prequel “The Many Saints of Newark,” and the anticipated sequel “Space Jam: A New Legacy”, Taylor Sheridan’s neo-western “Those Who Wish Me Dead,” and Lisa Joy’s sci-fi tale “Reminiscence”. One film that will be initially cinema only is Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune,” after the director lodged a complaint that that was not what he had signed up to.
All Warners films will be available to HBO Max subscribers for one month starting the day they hit cinemas. After that, the films will only continue in cinemas until they reach the traditional home entertainment frame where they can be rented through online platforms like Amazon, iTunes or Fandango. WarnerMedia has terminated its seven-day free trial offer for HBO Max so there will be no signing up and immediately ditching just to watch one movie.
WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff calls this a “unique one-year plan,” stressing the initiative isn’t expected to continue into 2022 or beyond and is only a temporary solution in response to the ongoing global heath crisis.
At the same time Warners films have announced 3 major films for their 2023 slate, They are the much anticipated George Miller “Mad Max: Fury Road” prequel “Furiosa” for June 23rd 2023, Dave Green’s animated hybrid comedy “Coyote vs. Acme” on July 21st 2023 and “The Color Purple” musical feature on December 20th 2023.