AMC Theatres on its earnings call Monday announced that it has set a deal on a shortened theatrical window with Warner Bros., agreeing to exclusively release their films for 2022 in a 45-day window.
Warner Bros. already had a similar deal for 45 days for its 2022 films with Cineworld, but the news should come as reassuring to theater owners in preserving a theatrical window after Warner Bros. this year experimented with opening its full 2021 slate in theaters and on HBO Max for one month day-and-date. At the time the day-and-date strategy was announced, Warner Bros. said it was a one-year experiment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the window deal is a sign they are holding to that promise.
Among the films set for release by Warner Bros. next year are the DC films “The Batman,” “Black Adam,” “The Flash” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” The studio also plans to release the Baz Luhrmann biopic “Elvis” starring newcomer Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
“It’s especially gratifying that Warner Bros is yet again embracing a theatrical window,” Aron said on the earnings call. “For us at AMC, it’s especially pleasing to be working so harmoniously with Warner Bros. once again. We’re in active dialog with every major studio on this topic. We’re hearing considerable support that an exclusive theatrical window is an important way to build a successful movie franchise.”
With $423 million in domestic box office grosses so far this year, Warner Bros. has the highest annual market share at 24%. But the studio has only seen one of its 12 films, “Godzilla vs. Kong,” reach the $100 million mark. This past weekend, the studio’s DC film “The Suicide Squad” opened below expectations to a $26.5 million launch in North America.
AMC on its earnings call Monday also announced plans to begin accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment by the end of 2021 and that the theater chain is in talks to lease eight former Arclight and Pacific Theaters locations.
Jeremy Fuster contributed to this report.