“We live in unprecedented times that require creativity to find solutions," said Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff, announcing the decision, which is expected to cover at least 17 titles next year, including a "prequel" inspired by the "Sopranos" series and a sequel to the DC superhero movie "Suicide Squad."
The decision applies only to the United States, as the HBO Max service is not available in other countries at this stage, so the Warner Bros. catalogue will normally be released in cinemas next year.
Wonder Woman 1984 - Official Main Trailer
By mid-November, Warner had already announced that "Wonder Woman 1984" would be released in the United States simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on Christmas Day, in an attempt to offset the impact of the pandemic that rocked Hollywood and the blockbuster calendar. "No one wants to watch movies on the big screen more than we do. We know that the new content gives life to film screenings, but we have to take into account the fact that most movie theaters in the United States are likely to operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021," Sarnoff said in a statement.
Traditionally, major Hollywood productions are only shown in theaters for 90 days before they are released in other formats. But the closure of theaters in many parts of the U.S., including New York and Los Angeles, has forced distributors to find feature solutions. Under this hybrid commercial model, announced by Warner Bros., new films will be available on HBO Max from the day of their theatrical release in the United States, and for a period of one month.
Major Hollywood studios are desperately looking for ideas to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic, which is having a strong financial impact on the industry. Warner had released "Tenet" in theaters this summer, but had to settle for a sold-out American box office.
Others have also begun postponing some of their bet on streaming, such as Disney, which launched its remake of "Mulan" on its Disney+ platform in September. "Soul," the latest production by Pixar animation studios, will be broadcast on the same platform in the United States on Christmas Day.