Back in December, when Warner Bros. announced that all of its 2021 movies would be released on HBO Max on the same day that they hit theaters, many around the industry frowned upon the plan. It was only announced to be a one-year type of thing, but most believed that it could hurt theaters in the long run, and that WarnerMedia could potentially decide to make this a permanent release plan going forward. Following the theatrical success of Godzilla vs. Kong, WarnerMedia is making it clear that the WB strategy will return to a theatrical plan following 2021.
In 2022, WB will once again release its major films exclusively in theaters. Those films won't be eligible to arrive on HBO Max for at least 45 days, keeping a substantial window for theatrical distribution. This week, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar appeared on Vox's Recode Media, and confirmed that this plan truly isn't lasting more than the initial year.
“I think it’s very fair to say that a big, you know, let’s say a big DC movie … it’s very fair to say that that would go exclusively to theaters first and then go to somewhere like an HBO Max after it’s in theaters,” Kilar said.
The move was initially made with the understanding that it could be a while before theaters were truly safe for everyone again. But the beginning of this year has seen a bigger vaccine rollout than anticipated, and people are starting to head back to theaters. By the time The Suicide Squad arrives in August, theaters will be even closer to their normal capacities, and WB will likely lose some money from the film being released on HBO Max.
In 2022, Warner Bros. will be releasing The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson. That film is sure to be a substantial hit, and it's only one of the major films on WB's 2022 release slate. The studio is making sure that its films will be exclusively in theaters by the time those movies arrive.
Are you glad to see the Warner Bros. movies heading back to theaters? Let us know in the comments!