Warner Bros’ Bombshell HBO Max News Splits Fans, From ‘That’s a Win’ to ‘I Hate This’

Studio announced Thursday that all of its 2021 films will premiere simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max

Dune Timothee Chalamet
Warner Bros./HBO Max

In an unprecedented move, Warner Bros. announced Thursday that all 17 films on its 2021 slate will launch on HBO Max the same day they hit theaters — a model that was previously announced for the release of “Wonder Woman 1984.” In a statement, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar doubled down on the fact that this was a necessary response to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “We see an opportunity to do something firmly focused on the fans, which is to provide choice. Whether that choice is to enjoy a great new movie out at the cinema, to open up HBO Max, or to do both.”

Naturally, the news was met with a flurry of reactions ranging from shock to anger. Some, like Vulture critic Jen Chaney, worried about the impact the news could have on theaters. She tweeted, “I have been extremely reluctant to make any nail in the coffin pronouncements about the future of movie theaters. But this Warner/HBO Max announcement feels pretty … nail in the coffin-ish?”

But there are still plenty of people who are excited about the opportunity to stream blockbusters from home. SlashFilm staff writer Ethan Anderton said, “Personally, I think this Warner Bros/HBO Max release strategy is both a way to boost the streaming service and to test the waters for what movies they should give hybrid releases to in the future and which should be in theaters first like the traditional model.”

Read more reactions to the Warner Bros. news below.




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