Warner Bros. has spent the past few weeks speaking to its partners, like LeBron James’s SpringHill Entertainment and director Jon Chu, to further explain its strategy, and lay out the argument that they will make more money this way. Though Warner Bros. believed it had the rights to release its movies to HBO Max without the consent of its partners, it has since adjusted their contracts to offer more favorable terms.
Even the cast and crew of these movies will be getting touched up, according to the Bloomberg article. Normally they don’t receive spiffs from the theatrical release, so this is a bonus.
Strangely, Warner Bros. chose the route of announce first, deal with the fallout later. They wanted their announcement to go out without leaks, to be a bit of a holiday surprise perhaps. They are also planning on returning to normal terms once these 2021 releases are done.
We support day and date releases, just as we support reducing the theatrical window, so obviously we weren’t in the crowd dissing WarnerMedia for their controversial decision. If companies want to save money, our position is to do it with lowering film budgets and reduce the process of remaking successful films.
The one thing we do agree with is WarnerMedia should have negotiated with their business partners before they announced their plans. They contend they didn’t have to, which seems murky both ethically and legally, but we’ll see how this impacts them.
Parent company AT&T is trying to manage their debt load and this seems ill-timed on that front, but for subscriber growth, retention and future of HBO Max, this seems like a clever marketing move (see: Don’t Count Out HBO Max in 2021). Also, the pandemic is keeping a bunch of theaters shuttered more than open, so what is a studio supposed to do? Just keep delaying movies for years?
A bonus news post that we can’t wait until tomorrow to share. Maybe you’ve already heard the big news, maybe not, but Warner Bros. is going all in on day and date.
We already knew Wonder Woman 1984 is having no theatrical window in the United States, it will be released in theaters and on HBO Max (in 4K too!) simultaneously on Christmas, Friday December 25, 2020. International markets will get to see it about 10 days earlier in theaters, if they are open. If being the keyword.
Warner Bros. isn’t stopping with only one film being released this way.
Earlier today they announced plans to include every planned theatrical release film in 2021 with the exact same day and date simultaneous release for the first month. Watch it wherever you want: on HBO Max — no additional premium fee, included as part of the regular subscription — or in whatever theaters might be open. After 31 days, the movies will disappear from HBO Max and go into a theatrical window-like mode. That would involve a period of time where only theaters, then VOD and Blu-Ray and then presumably back on streaming again — probably HBO Max, but maybe other streamers.
The list of the 17 Warner Bros. movies is below.
The studio announced Thursday day-and-date releases for its 17-film slate, which will hit HBO Max for a one-month window that starts the same day they will be available in U.S. theaters.
The studio’s 2021 slate includes projects such as The Suicide Squad, The Matrix 4, Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong and Space Jam: A New Legacy. Other films include Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In the Heights, Reminiscence, Malignant, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard and Cry Macho.
Feedback I’m reading so far are several pundits saying (again, sigh) this will be the death sentence for movie theaters, others liking this for HBO Max and many other opinions.
Clearly, Warner Bros. thinks 2021 is going to be too much like 2020 and they don’t want to keep pushing dates back, hoping, praying that the theaters will be open. They are going to promote the value of an HBO Max subscription. They lose money if they sit on movies, they lose money if they release films to a reduced marketplace .. the only way they seem to gain is by promoting their streaming service. And kudos to them for not going the Mulan route and trying to extract an extra $30 from subscribers.
Worked for us. We just reupped for six months at 20% discount.
The billion dollar question is how many of these movies will people opt to skip the theater and see at home instead? How many will see in both places — on the big screen perhaps first, and then rewatch on HBO Max in 4K.
Nobody knows the answers to those questions. If you read somebody say they do, they’ve got a shovel full of something that doesn’t smell good.
If we have theaters open in our area and have our A-List or Regal Unlimited subscription active, we’ll see the majority, if not every one of these 17 WB films, in movie theaters. However, over six months this last year the movie theaters have been closed in our area. If that’s the case, who knows how many we’ll have the opportunity to see in theaters.
Warner Bros. is saying their plans for 2021 are not permanent, but this could be a toothpaste out of the bottle situation. They would like to go back to adopting some kind of theatrical window, but in the pandemic times, without a vaccine in place (it’s coming!), they are letting people decide when and where to see their movies.
We like letting moviegoers decide where they want to see new movies. Make a customer a customer somewhere in your world is a good idea for any business. If you want to force customers to do something simply because that’s the way it’s always been is not a winning long term business strategy.
Will other studios that have streaming channels should do the same thing? Will this make having an exclusive in theaters for the smaller studios a marketing advantage?
Wow, so much to unpack here. What do you think of all this? Let’s discuss.
Still recovering from gamer’s hand after all day Halloween after playing through the story mode on Mortal Kombat 11. Took off my movie watching hat and went all in on videogaming.
Purchased the Ultimate Edition and played a ton of fighting matches. Part of the charm buying the series, besides following it off and on since its original debut in the 90s via Midway, is that it offered playing bonus characters from 80s action movies.
It was recently announced that the characters Rain and Mileena will be making their return to the hit fighting game, while ’80s action star, John Rambo, will be the surprise third DLC character. With his addition to the roster, Rambo joins characters likes RoboCop and the Terminator as classic blockbuster action stars to join the ranks of Mortal Kombat 11. This ’80s nostalgia might seems a little random to some fans, but it’s actually deeply rooted in the history of Mortal Kombat.
When Midway started the fighter series which is famous for graphic brutal fatalities performed like ripping the spine out of your opponent at the end, playing as guest characters in game was all the rage in their other popular game, NBA Jam.
You could play all kinds of different famous basketball players and people like President Clinton.
Midway eventually was sold to Warner Bros. and they have decided to add more characters, including the Joker to Mortal Kombat. They need to add Harley Quinn to the game, she’d fit perfect.
’Wonder Woman 1984 is vacating its October 2 release date, with the Patty Jenkins-directed movie heading to Christmas. Warners is keeping the Legendary sci-fi movie Dune on the calendar for a December 18 release, and believes the holiday marketplace is big enough for two mega-tentpoles.
Hopefully this doesn’t start a deluge of articles about how the movie theater industry is doomed. We wore that tape out months ago. The theaters are not en masse going out of business because Wonder Woman 1984 — or any single movie title — is delayed.
Tenet in part hasn’t done well because there just aren’t enough theaters open in areas for people to see it. Overseas it’s doing decent numbers. If there were more theaters open in the states, it would have more sales. I’m not apologizing for Tenet, am not that big a fan of Nolan’s newest film, but it’s the best new movie to see in theaters available right now.
Panic after one or two weeks box office performance is the new norm. This was happening before the pandemic. Any movie with a decent sized budget seems to be subject to unrealistic opening week box office sales scrutiny. The “it’s underperforming, it’s a bomb!” stuff seem to make some movies circle the drain even faster. Moviegoers don’t want to go see a movie that others aren’t paying to see.
Tenet is no Joker, not a billion dollar movie with massive legs, even without the ugly spectre of COVID-19. Probably was a $300-500 million level movie, which on a budget of $200+ million means it might have come close to breaking even or just losing a little money (crazy, isn’t it?). If it has enough time in theaters unchallenged, it could make a little more.
At least that is what Warner Bros. seems to think will happen. Hence delaying Wonder Woman to give Tenet more time. It just needs more time.
Give Tenet more time out there without competing against another blockbuster from the same studio for the scant few United States moviegoers that exist. We saw Tenet in IMAX already and, while we recommended others see it (when and if it’s safe to do so), we’re not planning on seeing it a second time. How many don’t feel safe, are waiting for the 90 day theatrical window to work its way to HBO Max? Maybe more than we think.
We all know the pandemic is the real culprit here. Pass the blame hat around, but it belongs on that one big head.
All other movie releases are the half dozen or so new movies we’ve already seen (except for the newest one this week, which we’re watching tonight). See the image to the right. It’s a case of: seen it, seen it, seen it, etc. None of those movies to us are worth seeing a second time. Some aren’t even worth seeing the first time in theaters.
Solutions in the meantime?
Regal needs to get with the program and bring back more $5 classics. It’s like they were there and then a week later gone. Keep them going. Rotate out more and more classics. Do we need 15+ screenings of Tenet every day, seriously? Maybe that’s the only movie making any money for them, hence why they have so many screenings. They might also be trying desperately to ring the cash register for the studio, so they won’t do what they just did (delay another big movie). Theaters need a variety of movies to get butts in the seats. I’ve said this before: would rather have 15 movies showing a couple screenings a day each than a half dozen movies showing with a bunch of screenings.
Back to Wonder Woman 1984. Bummed out on this news, yes I am. This was my most anticipated movie to see this year and now have to wait another three plus months? I understand why the move was made, but don’t have to like it.
They left Dune in place in December, but they will probably delay that somewhere into 2021 like studios have delayed so many other movies.
What will Disney do next? Delay Black Widow or run with it in November?
Assuming the major market theaters reopen within the next 30-45 days — and that is by no means a guarantee — Black Widow will keep its current release date of November 6. October has a decent number of movies being released, but the Wonder Woman move could cause a shift of other titles moving around in the next week or two, including Black Widow.
These are very tough times for the movie theater business, no doubt, and they’ll likely get worse, but let’s not make any funeral plans.
Variety, CNBC and others are reporting that Warner Bros. has decided to delay Tenet for the third time.
Warner Bros. has removed “Tenet” from its release calendar, delivering a big blow on the exhibition industry at a time when movie theaters had hoped to peg their re-opening to the late summer debut of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller.
The next dominoes dropping will likely be the big theater chains delaying their scheduled reopening July 30 (AMC) and July 31 (Regal) and/or Disney pushing back the release date of Mulan, which is currently set for August 21.
We’ve been holding off on the Coming Soon to theaters in August 2020 awaiting this news that wasn’t completely unexpected. We’ll continue to wait longer as more movies planned in August will likely follow suit.
You’ve probably heard there’s been a spike in new COVID-19 cases and Warner Bros. is saying goodbye to July for Tenet and pushing it back — again — this time to August 12, 2020.
The article linked and quoted below is claiming their “sources” are saying Disney will be announcing delaying Mulan, too, currently scheduled for July 24, to be pushed back further. If indeed that happens, there will only be two wide releases planned to open in theaters in July.
No movie dates can be considered guaranteed even not in our current times, but you might as well write all movie dates in pencil and have a giant eraser handy.
Warner Bros. announced the shift on Thursday amid rapidly changing and unexpected circumstances.
The summer is a busy time for theaters traditionally. A great time to get out of the heat and into air-conditioned theaters. July 10, our Regal Cinemas have committed to reopening (see: July 10 Cineworld Regal Cinemas to reopen all theaters – Update On Unlimited Pass Subscription), which barring our own unexpected circumstances, we intend to fully support. I heard they’re planning to show some classic movies like Jurassic Park. Yes, I’ll pay to rewatch that movie in the theater in 2020. Or, rather, since our Unlimited Pass will be available for use until we get billed again in August, we’ll get in for the awesome price of $0. We miss the big screen experience, the popcorn, the comfy recliner seats …
If the theater chains don’t change their mind based on this news, anyway. Hope not, but every day this pandemic seems to rain more bad news of some sort down upon us.
Do I think the theaters should delay reopening? If it’s unsafe in their area to do so, then yes, of course. What I don’t want to see is theaters closed and casinos open. I can’t believe a movie theater is higher risk than a casino, can you?
Call it coronavirus cold feet, a wise business decision or (insert emotion), but the studios have now pushed back both Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984.
The Warner Bros. film, which stars Robert Pattinson and John David Washington, was initially slated for July 17 and will now debut in cinemas on July 31. On the date that “Tenet” was expected to open, theaters will re-release one of Nolan’s biggest hits, “Inception,” in honor of its 10th anniversary.
Warner Bros. also postponed “Wonder Woman 1984” nearly two months, from Aug. 14 to Oct. 2
Godzilla vs. Kong will be delayed again from November 20, 2020 to May 21, 2021
Tom & Jerry delayed from December 23, 2020 to March 3, 2021
The untitled Matrix movie delayed from May 21, 2021 to April 4, 2022
The major three movie theater chains were all planning to reopen in July. This leaves Disney’s Mulan at July 24 as the first major new wide release title to test the reopening waters.
Technically, there is another wide release icebreaker on July 1: Unhinged. Every day that’s looking more likely to be pushed back also depending on movie theater openings. Some independent theaters are opening and what few drive-ins remains are doing business.
Time for movie theaters to reopen, yes or no?
Throughout this pandemic I’ve said the big 3 theater chains need to get open as soon as it’s safe to do so. As long as they stay closed and don’t get back to some revised social distancing version of their prior business, studio feet will grow even colder.
Today, I went to the beach and saw people everywhere. Casinos in Washington State where we live have people everywhere. Heck, part of downtown Seattle has been annexed by protesters taking over a police precinct and showing movies in the street, not to mention concerts. People, everywhere.
People are socializing and ready for movie theaters in at least some areas of the country. I mean, if they can go and gamble and be as close as a slot machine away, why can’t they go to a movie theater and be 3-4 seats away?
If, however, the big three theaters don’t reopen soon, we will definitely see even more titles pushed back and this could spell the end to summer 2020 movies in theaters. We’ve already lost spring in 2020.
This means Wonder Woman 1984 is now a fall release, skipping the normally very busy summer months. Tenet’s move isn’t too dramatic at only two weeks to July 31 and following Mulan, but will Disney not want to the first to dip a toe in the new movie theater waters? Flip a coin? Maybe the odds aren’t even that good.
We seem to be at an impasse of sorts. What do you think, should movie theaters reopen ASAP? Or should they wait literally until a week or two before Mulan (mid July)?
The HBO Max launch is here, May 27, 2020, another significant streaming service available.
For those who got in at the intro pricing $11.99/month or those getting free as part of your AT&T TV or phone plans or paying the regular $14.99/month, whichever the case, you probably don’t need this post. The rest that are curious what it looks like inside? Got you covered.
My first login experience? Clean. Wow. Very clean. Love the dark background and the fact that it instantly wants to allow me add additional profiles a la Netflix.
You can create up to five additional profiles for either adults …
… or kids. The kids require setting a pin, which the system prompts immediately and intuitively to create.
Once you’ve set a pin, then you can define the content level parental controls by MPAA rating.
Here is how the profiles screen appears once a child’s account has been set.
Now, to change an existing profile, use the “MANAGE PROFILES” link at the bottom beneath the +Add buttons. A profile name is limited to 10 characters, so I couldn’t add Todd and Kara or even Todd N Kara — so had to just settle for Todd Kara.
A suggestion, would have been nice if the font size would have auto-changed smaller to allow for a few more characters. At least 20, but that’s a minor complaint. Again, UI (User Interface) is very clean and easy to follow. They wanted to make this very Netflix-like in usability, and it shows.
Once your profiles are in order, a feature which for those who don’t know how that works, it allows the system to learn what that particular user can watch, has watched, wants to watch and will provide suggestions to him/her/them based on history.
TV Series as “Series”
Going to breeze through the TV Series portion of the interface, but it’s pretty straightforward, starting with the HBO signature features and adding some coveted complete series like: The Big Bang Theory, Friends, Rick & Morty and more!
Those who already know and appreciate HBO originals will feel right at home here.
If you don’t finish a movie and move around a convenient “Continue Watching” menu appears at the top of the home menu so you can quickly return to in-progress movies.
Movies have a detailed A-Z menu along the right hand side so you can quickly and conveniently skip to the first letter title of a movie, versus scrolling through the entire list.
The movie sections are divided up into A-Z (full listing with breakpoints by letter as shown above), Originals, Just Added (!), Last Chance, Coming Soon, genre and studio and/or content grouping (DC, Sesame Street, TCM, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Looney Tunes, Crunchy Roll, Studio Ghibli).
I could write a detailed post just describing the DC grouping. It’s like a mini DC Universe worth of movies in there, including Batman getting his own section.
No comic books like DC Universe, but one could see how the two services could merge into one super, powerful mega streaming service (I’m surprised this wasn’t offered from the get-go for like $19.99/month for both). If Warner truly wants to take on Netflix with something they don’t and likely can’t offer, this would be one way to do so. Amazon, could counter this with putting up Comixology which they own. Sure, DC could pull their license of DC Comics from that service, but they wouldn’t. Watch for this being a possibility someday in the future.
DC has all the DC-related live action and animated movies in one organized place. Some of these movies left the DC Universe platform to come to HBO Max (causing unrest in that community, by the way). In September 2020 the DC Universe Rewards program ends and something is going to happen … no idea what that is, but perhaps that will be when there is a bundling deal in time for holiday (this is pure speculation on my part, but not an impossibility by any stretch).
Plenty of cartoons available under the Looney Tunes category. 31 seasons of Looney Tunes, alone.
A-Z some of many movies available for streaming at HBO Max launch
Not going to put out a complete A-Z listing of movies in this post, like we did for Peacock at launch, but below are some few notable titles:
2001: A Space Odyssey The Abyss Alien Aliens Alien: Resurrection Alien 3 Alita: Battle Angel Along Came Polly American Pie American Pie 2 Any Given Sunday Apocalypse Now Aquaman The Art of Racing In The Rain Arthur Arthur 2: On The Rocks Babe Babe: Pig In The City 11+ Batman movies (see below)
Beauty & The Beast Ben Hur Black KkKlansman Blinded By The Light The Blob Bohemian Rhapsody Bonnie & Clyde Braveheart The Bridges of Madison County Bright Lights Big City Casablanca Casino Royale (the original) Casino Royale (James Bond – Daniel Craig) Citizen Kane Cimmaron Contagion Crazy, Rich Asians 4 Critters Movies (Critters 1, 2, 3, 4) Dick Tracy Die Hard Die Hard 2 Die Hard With a Vengeance A Dog’s Life Downton Abbey Emma Enemy Mine The Entertainer Equinox Eraser Eraserhead Eyes Without A Face Fantastic Planet Fight Club A Fish Called Wanda Flawless Galaxy of Terror Gamer Gangs of New York Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster Glengarry Glenross 8 Godzilla movies (!!!!!)
Gone With The Wind Good Boys Great Expectations Green Lantern Gremlins 1 & 2 Hackers Hamlet Happy Death Day Happy Death Day 2 U Hanzo The Razor (3 movies) Happy Feet (2 movies) Harry Potter (entire 7 movie series) Hellboy Hey Arnold The Movie The Hitcher (1986) The Hobbit (3 movies) How The West Was Won I Shot Jesse James It: Chapter 2 Jaws (4 movies: 1,2,3 and 4) Joker Judge Dredd Justice League (Snyder Cut coming in 2021) Kin King Kong (The original black and white!) Kung Fu Panda La La Land The Lady Vanishes The Land Before Time (10 animated movies)
LEGO Movies (5 movies) Little Shop of Horrors Lola Lolita Lone Wolf and Cub (6 movies) The Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner Long Shot Lord of the Flies Lord of the Rings (the complete trilogy) Lost In Space Madagascar Madagascar 3 The Maltese Falcon The Meg Metro Million Dollar Babies Mona Lisa Smile Mr. & Mrs. Smith Mrs. Doubtfire Nightmare on Elm Street (5 movies)
North By Northwest Notting Hill The Nun The Odd Couple II Of Mice and Men An Officer and a Gentlemen Oliver Twist Othello The Outsiders Paradise Lost (3 movies) Pearl Harbor The Pelican Brief Pet Sematary (the original movie) Pirahna Police Academy (7 movies)
Pretty and Pink Pride and Prejudice Quadrophenia Quantum of Solace (James Bond) Rebel Without A Cause (James Dean) Rodan (more Godzilla, yes!) Rock Star Rock The Kasbah Scanners School Of Rock Scooby Doo Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed The Seventh Seal Singing In The Rain
The Skulls (3 movies) Solaris Son of Godzilla Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains The Same A Star Is Born (original movie) A Star Is Born (remake 2019) A Streetcar Named Desire Suicide Squad Teeth Terror of Mechagodzilla The Thief of Baghdad Through A Glass Darkly To Be Or Not To Be Tokyo Story Tropic Thunder True Lies Twins Unfriended Unfriended: Dark Web Us Valkyrie Water For Elephants Western Stars Wild Hogs Wings Of Desire The Witches Of Eastwick The Wizard of Oz Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) X-Men X-Men: Dark Phoenix Yesterday The Zookeeper’s Wife
A very good mix of movies both very new, very old and in between. A better selection than what’s available at any other single movie streaming service. That’s Netflix, Amazon, they don’t have all these quality movies. They have good selection, but not this overall quality of film library on day one of launch.
However, if you want originals, every streaming service has its strengths. Disney+ has Star Wars, Marvel and their animated classics which are some of the greatest movies ever made. Peacock has the potential for a good library, although their initial launch wasn’t as solid as what HBO Max offers. Maybe when Peacock goes full launch mode in July, they will draw more from their classic library available as well as even more great TV series.
It’s a full-on war of streaming and we — movie and TV show lovers — are benefiting. It’s not what is available to watch, it’s what to watch next?
A very solid launch for HBO Max. I know people may balk at the price tag, but it’s worth at least signing up and watching movies — some of which haven’t been available anywhere else except on TV until now. We’ll be subscribed for awhile.
Are you subscribed to HBO Max? Will you be? What do you think? I’m curious to read thoughts from others.
May 15, Warner Bros. will be releasing Scoob! straight to VOD.
An opportunity for those with children to dig into some Scooby cinematic snacks, possibly at the rental price of $19.99 for 48 hours (somebody get Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte to promote!), but maybe priced lower (or, gasp, higher).
Warner Bros. has announced that they will be releasing the animated Scoob on May 15 not in theaters as initially planned but on VOD. Like Trolls: World Tour, the commercially questionable (relatively speaking) animated flick will be offered as a prime “watch it at home while in quarantine” title in what is quickly becoming a non-existent theatrical summer movie season.
A pattern is emerging during the pandemic with theaters closing that, so far, only animated movies are skipping delayed theatrical releases and going straight to VOD. Because of the rewatchable nature for children, are these the only movies studios think will have rental $$$ legs?
It’s getting more challenging understanding when and where new movies we want to see will appear, but rest assured if you’re here reading and subscribed, we’ll continue to help stir through the movie release date soup for you. Stay tuned to the Coming Soon section.