Warner Bros. Pictures Group announced that it has committed to releasing its 2021 film slate on their HBO Max streaming platform in the US concurrent with the film’s domestic release.
This news follows the announcement that “Wonder Woman: 1984” will be released to HBO Max and select theaters on Christmas Day. The Wonder Woman sequel will be available to subscribers of the streaming platform for at least a month.
The goal audience account to calculate WW84’s success is four million or more viewers streaming the film on opening day.
“A little over four million fans in the U.S. enjoyed the first Wonder Woman movie on its opening day in 2017,” WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said. “Is it possible for that to happen again this Christmas with Wonder Woman 1984 between theaters and HBO Max?”
HBO Max currently has 30 million subscribers in the United States.
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 select US theaters and international territories, with all customary distribution windows applying to the titles.
All films will be available in 4K Ultra HD and HDR on HBO Max. This announcement was made today by Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group (of which Warner Bros. is part) and Jason Kilar, CEO of WarnerMedia.
Warner Bros. Pictures Group’s 2021 expected release slate currently includes 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.
In comparison to other streaming platforms, HBO Max comes in short. Netflix has 200 million subscribers globally, with 73 million subscribers in the US at $14/mo. Amazon Prime Video has over 150 million subscribers and is $9/mo while Disney+ has 75 million subscribers globally, 26 million of which are in the US at $7/mo.
Disney also owns Hulu which has 37 million subscribers ($6/mo for basic and $12/mo for premium) and ESPN which has 10 million subscribers. HBO Max has 30 million subscribers (available in USA only so far at $15/mo), also only half of the HBO Max “subscribers” have actually logged in to the app
“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” said Sarnoff. “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.
Warner Media sees this move 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.”
“After considering all available options and the projected state of moviegoing throughout 2021, we came to the conclusion that this was the best way for WarnerMedia’s motion picture business to navigate the next 12 months,” said Kilar. “More importantly, we are planning to bring consumers 17 remarkable movies throughout the year, giving them the choice and the power to decide how they want to enjoy these films. Our content is extremely valuable, unless it’s sitting on a shelf not being seen by anyone. We believe this approach serves our fans, supports exhibitors and filmmakers, and enhances the HBO Max experience, creating value for all.”
“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.”