After generating a lot of controversy, the release of the Warner Bros. films. in theaters and HBO Max seems to have come to an end. According to Deadline, the studio closed an agreement with the Regal Cinemas chain – belonging to the Cineworld group – to launch major productions during a 45-day window.
“We are very happy with the Warner Bros. deal,” said Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger in a statement. “This contract shows the studio’s commitment to the movie industry and we see this contract as an important milestone in our 100-year relationship with Warner Bros.”
In December 2020 he announced that he would release all of his 2021 films in theaters and on HBO Max, simultaneously. The move created discomfort for several filmmakers like Denis Villeneuve, who stated that “Streaming can produce great content, but not films on the Duna scale. Warner Bros. decision it means that Duna will not have the chance to have a financial performance to be viable and piracy will end up triumphing. Warner Bros. it may simply have killed the Duna franchise ”.
Christopher Nolan was another who went public to comment on the controversial decision. He used as a justification the fall of the shares of AMC Theaters and IMAX on the stock exchange. “Their decision does not make economic sense and even the most casual investor on Wall Street can see the difference between disruptive and dysfunctional,” commented the filmmaker at the time.
So far, there is no information on whether other movie theaters are negotiating the early launch, in relation to HBO Max. However, exclusivity contracts with a window shorter than 90 days – the most common option before the pandemic – are becoming common. Paramount recently announced 45-day windows for its major productions, like Mission: Impossible 7 and an even shorter 30-day window for smaller titles.
Universal has already signed agreements with AMC and Cinemark for films with a budget of less than US $ 50 million domestically, which will arrive at digital rental services 17 days after their premiere, while films with longer opening weekends can start with leases paid 31 days after the premiere.
Disney has also been experimenting with premium streaming releases through its Disney + Premiere Access program, which offered films such as Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon for an additional fee of R $ 69.90. Black Widow and Cruella will also be offered for rent on the streaming platform, simultaneously with their respective theaters premieres.