This year hasn’t been great for a lot of things—especially movies. Some of the most anticipated films of 2020 have been pushed until 2021 because of the pandemic. But, there is some good news, as least for those who like to watch movies in the comfort of their own homes. Warner Bros. has announced that every one of its movies set to be released next year, which includes blockbusters like “Suicide Squad 2,” “Dune” and “The Matrix 4,” will be available in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously. According to the New York Times, subscribers to the streaming service will get instant access to 17 movies in total.
Although some movie theaters across the US have reopened, the pandemic has left many struggling to survive. Understandably, most moviegoers don’t feel comfortable going to big theaters as the deadly virus continues to surge. While a vaccine could help get people back in front of the silver screen, WarnerMedia doesn’t anticipate any big changes until at least next fall. Ann Sarnoff, the chief executive of the WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group told the New York Times its a “unique one-year plan.” But it’s hard to say if life will be back to “normal” in a year, and if the theaters can hold on. The fate of chains like AMC already hang in the balance.
But this move for WarnerMedia, which owns both Warner Bros. and HBO Max, almost seemed inevitable after the company announced last month that it would be releasing “Wonder Woman 1984” on the streaming service, in addition to whatever theaters are open at the time.
“Our content is extremely valuable, unless it’s sitting on a shelf not being seen by anyone,” Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia’s chief executive said in a statement. “We believe this approach serves our fans, supports exhibitors and filmmakers, and enhances the HBO Max experience, creating value for all.”
While I certainly appreciate the convenience of admiring sci-fi Timothée Chalamet alone on my couch, I’m not sure my 36-inch television and terrible internet are up for the challenge. But, even with WarnerMedia touting this as a temporary pandemic solution, I have a feeling this could be the new “normal.”