In an unprecedented move, Warner Bros. Pictures Group has announced that its entire 2021 theatrical slate will have a simultaneous HBO Max release. The approach will mimic the studio’s current release strategy for Wonder Woman 1984, which will premiere in theaters and on HBO Max (on December 25) where it will be available for streaming for one month. What makes this current move notable is that Warner Bros. is now the first major studio to pivot a full year’s worth of theatrical releases to streaming instead of taking a film-by-film approach as the pandemic continues to disrupt the exhibition model. This new strategy is expected to include major blockbuster releases like Dune, The Suicide Squad, and The Matrix 4.
“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” said WarnerMedia Chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff said in a statement. “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.”
Here is Warner Bros.’ expected slate of 2021 films, which are subject to change: 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, Reminiscence, Malignant, Dune, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard, Cry Macho, and Matrix 4.