The traditional movie theater experience will be forever changed both by the lockdowns and the move Warner Bros. just made.
AT&T’s Warner Bros. announced Thursday that all of its films scheduled to launch in 2021 will be released on HBO Max at the same time they are available in theaters. It’s currently a one-year plan.
AMC shares closed down nearly 16% on the news.
It’s an example of how AT&T is adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing people to safely watch new films at home without having to venture out to a movie theater, many of which have been closed because of the increasing spread of Covid. It’s also a move that Warner Bros. already made with “Wonder Woman 1984,” which will be released to theaters and HBO Max on Christmas Day. That movie was originally scheduled to come out in the summer, but was delayed several times before WarnerMedia decided to release it on HBO Max.
HBO Max is AT&T’s online video service, which launched in the U.S. in May. It costs $14.99 per month and includes access to movies and TV shows.
“No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do,” Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group said. “We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021.”