• Warner Bros. to release its entire 2021 film slate simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters
  • The movie included in the plan are "Dune," "The Suicide Squad," "Godzilla vs. Kong," and many more
  • Ann Sarnoff, CEO of WarnerMedia Studios, said that the decision is a "win-win" for movie lovers and exhibitors

Warner Bros. stunned the entire entertainment industry by announcing that it will be releasing next year’s entire film slate simultaneously on the big screen and HBO Max.

The production giant believes that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made it virtually impossible for theaters to open its door to the public in its full capacity, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The company also announced the titles that would be streaming on HBO Max the same day as they hit the cinema halls in the U.S.

The movies that will be available for streaming in 2021 include highly-anticipated projects like “Dune,” “The Suicide Squad,” “The Matrix 4,” “Tom & Jerry,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “The Conjuring: Devil Made Me Do It,” and “Space Jam: A New Legacy.”

Speaking further about the seismic shift, Ann Sarnoff, CEO of WarnerMedia Studios, explained the company had to be innovative while running its business amid the global health crisis. Sarnoff called it a “temporary solution” and a “one-year plan.”

She also said that the decision of releasing movies simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters is a “win-win” situation for all the film lovers and exhibitors.

“No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do. 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. We see it as a win-win for film lovers and exhibitors, and we’re extremely grateful to our filmmaking partners for working with us on this innovative response to these circumstances ,” THR quoted Sarnoff, as saying.

Meanwhile, Tony Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures, revealed that it only “took a minute” for the company to take this brave decision.

“We have these movies just sitting on the shelf . Consumers are starved for content,” Emmerich told THR.

HBO Max also released a short teaser on its official Twitter account and confirmed that all the aforementioned titles will be streaming on its platform in 2021. Other films included in the plan are “Little Things,” “Judas and The Black Messiah,” “Mortal Kombat,” “In The Heights,” “Malignant,” “Reminiscence,” “Those Who Wish Me Dead,” “King Richard,” “The Many Saints of Newark,” and “Cry Macho.”

However, Warner Bros' decision of bringing the entire film slate to the streaming service is not sitting well with AMC Entertainment. The theater chain feels that the move will severely impact the theater business, which is hoping to recover once the vaccine becomes available, Variety first reported.

"Clearly, Warner Media intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max start up. As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense," Adam Aron, CEO and president of AMC Entertainment, told Variety.

The unprecedented move of releasing the movies simultaneously started with WB announcing that it will be releasing the upcoming movie “Wonder Woman 1984” in cinemas and on HBO Max. The film, starring Gal Gadot in the lead role, will open in whichever cinemas remain open Christmas Day as well as stream on HBO Max that same day.

Godzilla vs Kong
The first image of the two Titans squaring off comes from the back of an upcoming line of toys and figures from Playmates to coincide with the upcoming launch of the film. Photo by Toho Co and Legendary/Warner Bros.