The pandemic disrupted the movie industry in a big way and it looks like its influence is here to stay. WarnerMedia has revealed that several Warner Bros movies will be released on its HBO Max streaming service the same day they’re released in theaters next year, a sort of continuation of its hybrid movie launch strategy deployed in 2021.
AT&T has released its second-quarter financial details, revealing considerable success with its HBO Max streaming platform. The company seems to think that offering access to Warner Bros theatrical movies contributed to this popularity, shedding light on its strategy for next year.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said during the company’s earnings call late last week that he doesn’t “anticipate us going back to the way the world was in 2015 or 2016 or 2017.” His statement referred to the fairly lengthy release windows between when a movie premiered in theaters and its eventual availability to home viewers.
Due to the disruption caused by the pandemic last year, the decision was made to release new theatrical movies like The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It on HBO Max the same day the movie arrived in theaters. This hybrid release model will continue throughout 2022, and while the company has maintained that it won’t continue with this release plan next year, it seems there’s an incentive to keep the plan around to some degree.
According to Kilar, WarnerMedia plans to make 10 Warner Bros. movies available on HBO Max the same day they’re released in theaters in 2022. It’s unclear which titles will get this hybrid launch, the same kind of strategy that spurred heavy criticism from the movie theater industry and some directors.
Despite industry resistance to the change, many consumers have embraced the streaming strategy, citing everything from the comfort and convenience of watching movies at home to the overall lower cost compared to buying tickets for the whole family.