In a potentially massive blow for the future of moviegoing, Warner Bros. announced Thursday that it’s releasing all of its 2021 movies on HBO Max the same day as theaters.
The films will be available to HBO Max subscribers at no extra charge and will stream for one month. After they leave the platform following the 31-day streaming period, the movies will still be available to see in theaters.
The studio’s 2021 slate includes hotly anticipated sequels and would-be blockbusters such as “Dune,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Matrix 4,” “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Mortal Kombat,” and “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.”
“In the Heights,” an adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning Broadway musical, and “The Many Saints of Newark,” a movie prequel to HBO mob drama “The Sopranos,” are also among the 17 movies Warner Bros. is planning to give a concurrent streaming release.
The news comes just two weeks after Warner Bros. announced that “Wonder Woman 1984” will be released simultaneously in U.S. theaters and on HBO Max Christmas Day. The $200 million superhero tentpole starring Gal Gadot saw its release date shift multiple times due to the coronavirus pandemic, from June 5 to Aug. 14 to Oct. 2, before landing on Dec. 25.
Warner Bros. was the first major studio to release a high-budget movie into theaters during the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., with Christopher Nolan’s wildly ambitious action thriller “Tenet.” The $200 million movie suffered from mostly lukewarm reviews and no A-list stars, and opened to just $20.2 million in late August, as coronavirus cases spiked across the country. It’s earned a disappointing $57.4 million in the U.S. to date, and will be available to rent or buy on digital platforms Dec. 15.