A few days ago, Warner Brothers/AT&T blew up the internet by announcing their big films for 2021 will stream on their HBO Max while in theaters in the United States for only 30 days and new movie from theaters will take its place. They have 17 films set to come out next year in theaters and each one will appear on their HBO Max streaming services each month starting with Wonder Woman 84 that will stream in the US starting Christmas Day December 25th 2020. Their decision could potentially end big movies in theaters in the future, but because of the second high rise of Covid19 and all of the theater chains failed to find ways to make things safer for people to go to the movies.
This is a very smart tactic by Warner Brothers, because they would’ve lost more money if they continue to push these movies back. Secondly they will be release in theaters internationally so they have potential to make some money back from international box offices and getting new subscribers for their streaming services. There isn’t any statistic to show if HBO Max has earned more subscribers yet after they announce Wonder Woman 84 last month. According to Hollywood Reporter.com HBO Max has a total of 36.4 million subscribers base on the combination of HBO and HBO Max streaming. The number might have change because it was an article that came out in July of 2020.
In anothe Hollywood Reporter article said that Warner Brothers is hoping to reach 55 million subscribers by 2025. I think with their strategy for 2021 they could hit that mark next year since Matrix 4, Dune, and James Gunn’s Suicide Squad will debut on HBO Max when they release in theaters. Its a great strategy on their part because if they can get 20 million new subscribers with this tactic they could reach that number by the end of 2021 or within 6 months after this announcement was announce but that is hinging on from the positive from critics and audiences.
20 million new subscribers means they will earn 300 million dollars more from their streaming services. If Wonder Woman 84 could make 300 million from international box office and Warner Brothers could get 20 million new subscribers or 30 million subscribers that is 300 million or 450 million dollars in revenue. So that is something that could get them a profit back. So it s a smart approach for Warner Brothers/AT&T to go into this direction for 2021. It’s clear they know it will be a while before people will be back in theaters as a full house. I know all of the Theater chains if you have read Hollywood Reporter and Variety have spoke up against Warner Brothers decision, but the Theater chains have struggled to find ways to make it safe for for people to go back to theaters.
The theaters chains can complain all they want, but they haven’t done enough or to adapt to make it easy for people to return to theaters. By not becoming creative to have people return and making studios wait hurt their business. I am sure other studios will follow suit with Warner Brothers decision because Theaters are not doing their job to a adapt and I am sure other investors who invest in movies from Disney, Sony, and Universal will push those studios to start making deals with Netflix, Amazon, and Apple. Disney I think will wait to see how HBO Max does with their strategy and if they see it as a success they too will follow. Disney currently has 50 millions subscribers but if HBO Max catches up to them you will better believe they will do the same if Theaters chains continue to do nothing.
My final thought is that there is no promise on when a Covid19 vaccine will be ready for the public, because there has not been a set date on if or when it will be release and second most people will not take it right away because of paranoia. I believe this is a positive short term decision for Warner Brothers/AT&T decision, because I think they are seeing a lot of new subscribers currently, because Wonder Woman 84 was a must see movie everyone wanted to see in 2020. This tactic will draw more attention to new consumers to check out their HBO Max platform. Like the Spanish flu in 1918 the Covid19 will change the entertainment industry and how we watch movies that will not all be in theaters anymore. I am someone who loves going to the movies and the last time I went into a theater was in February to watch Affleck’s The Way Back film, and theaters that have open have not been successful to bring back audiences into theaters which hurt their business and studios are tired of waiting on theater chains to figure something out. I think when this is over and if Warner Brothers shows there is another way to make money and if this succeed on the streaming service. We will only see block buster movies in theaters while Indy films and small budget films will appear on streaming services.