Earlier this month, Warner Bros surprised consumers and outraged the movie industry when it announced that its feature films will hit HBO Max on the same day they premiere in theaters throughout 2021. The reason for this new strategy is clear — the pandemic — but it seems the company is looking to a future of traditional theatrical debuts.
Warners Bros’ decision to stream its feature films on HBO Max on the same day they arrive in theaters is a good thing for movie fans — it enables you to catch the latest and greatest flicks from the safety of your own home. Of course, the decision proved unpopular with movie theaters, which are struggling to stay afloat.
It seems that Warner Bros anticipates a day when movie theaters will be back open and consumers will resume watching the newest blockbusters in the cinema rather than at home. According to Variety, Warner Bros announced that three upcoming movies will debut in theaters in 2023: Coyote vs. Acme, Furiosa, and The Color Purple musical.
The studio has previously called its HBO Max release strategy a one-year model necessitated by the pandemic-related disruption to the movie industry. As the new report points out, Warner Bros’ theatrical movie release plans for 2023 indicate that it plans to continue with traditional theatrical releases in our post-pandemic future.
The big question, of course, is how many theaters will be left in 2023? After months of lockdowns, social distancing, and general consumer avoidance, the movie theater industry is struggling to survive and may, for the most part, begin buckling next year. At the same time, many consumers report favorable attitudes toward streaming new movies at home, citing lower cost and increased comfort.