Warner Bros. shocked the whole film industry with its latest model for the film release. Many are speculating that the company might extend the model even after 2021.
Recently, WB has lined up its major blockbusters like Matrix4, Dune, and The Suicide Squad for the 2021 release on its streaming platform HBO Max on the same day as in Theatres. The studio is also planning to release Wonder Woman 1984 later this month with the same strategy. The cinema critics and the movie lovers consider the decision as one of the ugliest plans during this pandemic when the theatres are already suffering a lot due to the lockdown. The new release model says that the films will be available on HBO Max for the first month after release. It is only available to United States subscribers.
After the announcement of Warner Bros., the whole entertainment industry had a strong reaction to it. Many shared that it could be the final nail in the film theatres’ coffin, which is already facing a lot due to the pandemic.
Filmmaker Christopher Nolan, whose film Tenet released this under Warner Bros., also criticizes the studio’s decision. The award-winning director said that the decision blindsided the stars and directors. While talking with The Hollywood Reporter, Nolan said, some of the industry’s biggest stars and filmmakers went to bed thinking they are working for the greatest film studio. When they woke up, they realized they were working for the worst. He added that Warner Bros. had an amazing source to circulate the director’s everywhere, both through theatres and home. The studio does not even understand what they are losing. Their new model makes no sense, and the casual Wall Street investor can tell the difference between dysfunction and disruption.
The director of The Suicide Squad, James Gunn, was also not happy with the release plan. It also does not help Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins, who have received millions for the HBO Max release, but the other artists have not yet got the payouts.
Many industry members refer to the Warner Bros. studio as the “Former Bros.” After the announcement, the stars of the studio, including Margot Robbie, Keanu Reeves, and Will Smith, are asking why they are not getting paid the same as Gadot. The stars have lost faith in the studio and are discussing boycotting Warner Bros.
While making the announcement, the chief officer of Warner Bros. Picture Group, Carolyn Blackwood, said it would be “a temporary 2021 plan.” Still, most industry people believe the plan will prove permanent, according to The New York Times. One of Variety’s articles states that “some believe” the model of Warner Bros. will exist past 2021.
The analyst Rich Greenfield of LightShed Partners media and entertainment spoke with Variety and explained that it is hard to imagine that the new proposed model will not have permanent implications for the consumer. The studio says things will go back to normal in 2022, but people would have to spend a year watching movies at home.
However, the strategy of Warner Bros. could extend the model past 2021 is also a possibility. Due to the lockdown, viewers have already become used to watching films at home. Disney has released some big films like Mulan and Hamilton on its streaming platform Disney+. The announcement of the major film Wonder Woman 1984 release was also more or less expected, considering theatres’ current situation.
It is yet to be seen whether Warner Bros. extends the plan after 2021 or not. However, the studio is certainly concentrating on increasing the subscribers of HBO Max and observing if the new release model is more profitable.