Exterior of a temporarily closed movie theater.
Enlarge / WarnerMedia dealt one other blow to struggling movie show house owners by asserting it’s going to launch its complete 2021 slate of movies concurrently in theaters and on HBO Max.

Only a few weeks in the past, we realized that Marvel Lady 1984—whose launch has been delayed a number of instances within the face of continued theater closures because of the pandemic—will maintain to its new December 25 theater launch date. The catch: it’s going to additionally debut on HBO Max that very same day. Now WarnerMedia has introduced that it’s going to observe the same concurrent digital/theater launch plan for all the flicks slated for launch in 2021, Selection experiences. It is one more staggering blow to film theaters nonetheless struggling amidst a raging pandemic that exhibits no signal of slowing down, notably in america.

“After contemplating all obtainable choices and the projected state of moviegoing all through 2021, we got here to the conclusion that this was the easiest way for WarnerMedia’s movement image enterprise to navigate the following 12 months,” mentioned CEO Jason Kilar in a press release. “Our content material is extraordinarily worthwhile, except it is sitting on a shelf not being seen by anybody. We imagine this strategy serves our followers, helps exhibitors and filmmakers, and enhances the HBO Max expertise, creating worth for all.”

Warner Bros.’ 2021 slate of movies will likely be obtainable to HBO Max subscribers for 31 days, after which they are going to solely be enjoying in theaters. As soon as the standard time has elapsed between theater and residential launch, the movies will likely be obtainable to lease by way of the same old on-line platforms (Amazon, iTunes, or Fandango). The present slate consists of The Little Issues, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, These Who Want Me Useless, The Conjuring: The Satan Made Me Do It, Within the Heights, House Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Memory, Malignant, Dune, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard, Cry Macho, and Matrix 4.

In a press release, WarnerMedia chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff referred to the mannequin as a “distinctive one-year plan,” given the unprecedented challenges inflicted on the trade by the continuing coronavirus pandemic. This isn’t anticipated to proceed into 2022. Per Sarnoff’s assertion:

We’re residing in unprecedented instances which name for artistic options, together with this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Footage Group. Nobody needs movies again on the massive display greater than we do. We all know new content material is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, however we’ve got to steadiness this with the fact that almost all theaters within the U.S. will probably function at decreased capability all through 2021.

With this distinctive one-year plan, we will assist our companions in exhibition with a gradual pipeline of world-class movies, whereas additionally giving moviegoers who could not have entry to theaters or aren’t fairly prepared to return to the flicks the prospect to see our superb 2021 movies. We see it as a win-win for movie lovers and exhibitors, and we’re extraordinarily grateful to our filmmaking companions for working with us on this revolutionary response to those circumstances.

Simply what number of film theaters can survive one other 12 months like 2020 stays an open query. Up to now, just one chain has responded to the information. An unnamed Cinemark rep instructed Deadline Hollywood: “In gentle of the present working atmosphere, we’re making near-term reserving choices on a film-by-film foundation. Right now, Warner Bros. has not offered any particulars for the hybrid distribution mannequin of their 2021 movies.”

At the very least HBO Max subscribers will not must pay additional to observe these movies, in contrast to the Disney+ technique for Mulan. The streaming platform charged a $30 premium buy to Disney+ subscribers, though it was launched theatrically in territories the place the streaming platform isn’t obtainable. (FYI, Mulan will change into obtainable freed from cost to all Disney+ subscribers this Friday, December 4, 2020.)

Marvel Lady 1984 will face off in opposition to Disney-Pixar’s animated movie Soul, which is launching on Disney+ the identical day. (It, too, is included as a part of the usual Disney+ subscriptions.) And for these (like Ars’ personal Samuel Axon) who had been postpone by the prospect of watching Marvel Lady 1984 at a measly 1080p with no HDR and sluggish bit fee, Director Patty Jenkins tweeted that Marvel Lady 1984 would be the first movie to stream in 4K HDR (UltraHD) on HBO Max when it premieres. It should additionally stream with Dolby Atmos audio. Hopefully that bodes nicely for the digital way forward for the 2021 releases, too.

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