Warner Bros. Slate of 2021 Movies Set to Debut on Streaming Service HBO Max


Emma Stark, Staff Writer

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has affected millions of businesses around the world, one being movie theaters. A recent announcement made by the film studio Warner Bros. has certainly not helped the situation. On December 3, Warners Bros. released a deal made with streaming service HBO Max. Its entire slate of 2021 movies will debut on the platform as they will simultaneously appear in theaters. Instead of risking a trip to the movie theater, HBO Max subscribers will be able to watch blockbuster movies right from their living room. Movies big-and-small including, “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Tom and Jerry,” and even “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” are only three of the seventeen movies being released throughout 2021. Of the seventeen, the studios’ film “Wonder Woman 1984,” will debut this upcoming Christmas.

If you are looking to watch one of the new blockbuster movies, critics argue that Warner Bros.’ parent company, AT&T, is limiting its content “for as long as they see fit,” as stated on NBC News. AT&T owns the movie studio, streaming platform, and in many cases, the internet users will watch them on. Although each movie will be available to previous U.S. subscribers, HBO Max ended their 7-day free trial just before the deal was made. If interested customers are looking to join HBO Max solely for the new movie releases, they are required to pay a $14.99 monthly subscription even though the movies will be removed from the platform one month after each release.

In the movie industry, the pandemic is becoming tougher to endure. Both private and large movie theater chains, such as AMC, are feeling frustration regarding this new deal. “Warner Media intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max start-up,” AMC’s CEO Adam Aron explained. Movie theater experiences will soon be extinct if other studios follow in the footsteps of Warner Bros. One film executive anonymously claimed that if “Disney follows this template in any capacity, movie theaters are done.” 

According to CNBC, the studio explained: “that they would like to keep their relationship with theaters once the pandemic is over and it’s safe to go out to movies again.” However, AMC shares dropped 16% on Thursday following the Warner Bros. announcement. This drop led investors to believe that the at-home movie releases will become a trend other studios will jump onto and a preferred way of watching by consumers. As the pandemic rages on, it is clear that the world will continue to see more experimentation from studios like Warner Bros. yet the future of the movie theater industry remains uncertain.