Warner Bros. Discovery Is Going All-In on Theatrical Releases – Which Means Max Is, Too | Analysis

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The streaming service, set to launch May 23, will largely depend on its sister studio’s slate for high-value, first-run feature films

David Zaslav at the Movies
David Zaslav has taken Warner Bros. Discovery back to basics when it comes to the movies.

After years of tech-driven disruption (remember when a phone company briefly owned Warner Bros.?), David Zaslav has been trying to strike a back-to-basics, business-as-usual tone with anyone who will listen: Wall Street analysts, Hollywood creatives and most recently the crowd of theater owners gathered in Las Vegas at CinemaCon this week.

The Warner Bros. Discovery chief has strongly rejected the streaming-first strategy of his predecessor, Jason Kilar, the Hulu cofounder who advanced day-and-date or HBO Max-only releases for Warner Bros. movies. At CinemaCon, Zaslav promised long theatrical runs for Warner’s slate of new movies like “Barbie” and “The Flash.”

Movies seemed like something of an afterthought at the unveiling of Max, the replacement for HBO Max, this month.