After revealing they'd be sending Wonder Woman 1984 to both HBO Max and theaters this Christmas, Warner Bros. has today announced that it has committed to releasing its entire 2021 film slate via the same unique, consumer-focused distribution model, which is possibly the most bizarre bit of news I've covered while running this site.
With the hybrid distribution model, Warner Bros. will continue to exhibit the films theatrically worldwide, while adding an exclusive one month access period on the HBO Max streaming platform in the U.S. concurrent with the film’s domestic release.
Warner Bros. Pictures Group’s 2021 expected release slate currently includes Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Malignant, Dune and Matrix 4, among others.
The hybrid model was created as a strategic response to the impact of the ongoing global pandemic, particularly in the U.S. Following the one month HBO Max access period domestically, each film will leave the platform and continue theatrically in the U.S. and international territories, with all customary distribution windows applying to the title. All films will be available in 4K Ultra HD and HDR on HBO Max.
"We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group," said Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group. "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."
"This hybrid exhibition model enables us to best support our films, creative partners and moviegoing in general throughout 2021," said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group. "We have a fantastic, wide ranging slate of titles from talented and visionary filmmakers next year, and we’re excited to be able get these movies in front of audiences around the world. And, as always, we’ll support all of our releases with innovative and robust marketing campaigns for their theatrical debuts, while highlighting this unique opportunity to see our films domestically via HBO Max as well."
It's worth noting that Warner Bros. could decide to shift any of the aforementioned titles out of 2021 at any time.
Other titles slated to release via the unique model include The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, In The Heights, Reminiscence, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard and Cry Macho.