Warner Bros. Will Release All 2021 Films On HBO Max & In Theaters Simultaneously

Warner Bros. announced on Thursday that all of its 2021 movies will debut on HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously.

The move was met with both praise and criticism from theater owners and movie lovers. It’s 2021 lineup is composed of 17-titles, including several highly anticipated releases such as “Dune,” “In the Heights,” and “The Matrix 4.”  

Critics of the dual film screening believe that Warner Bros. and parent company AT&T are looking to sacrifice movie theaters to increase interest in HBO Max. The move does not honor the windowing practice of debuting films in theaters exclusively before releasing them to streaming platforms, DVD or Blu-Ray. This could further drive cinemas into financial ruin due to many Americans likely opting to watch the releases at home instead of spending money to go to a theater.   

The tactic also gives Warner Bros. an advantage over Universal Pictures who inked a deal with top cinema chains AMC and Cinemark to allow their films to play exclusively in their theaters for at least three weekends before premiering on video-on-demand services.  

Though Warner Bros. is the first studio to release films on a streaming platform and in theaters at once, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has pushed several studios to release major films directly to streaming platforms. Disney, for instance, is gearing up to debut Pixar’s highly anticipated“Soul” on Disney Plus.


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