Author Topic: WB releasing everything in theaters AND HBO Max for next 12 months!!  (Read 303 times)

Offline perc2100

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HBO Max just got a whole lot better!!  Warner Bros announced Thursday that ALL of their current theatrical releases scheduled for the next 12 months will also be released concurrently on HBO Max same day/date.  We've known for awhile that was the plan for their Wonder Woman 1984, but this is a MASSIVE game changer as far as film release practice.  Theaters naturally are not happy with a short (or in this case non-existent) window between theatrical release & home video/VOD/streaming.  In the age of COVID, where most studios are bleeding cash, lots of outside-the-box thinking is happening to problem solve.  Studios that own their own streaming service (WB owns HBO Max; Disney+ is obviously owned by Walt Disney Studios) can easily 'shift' their releases to subscription streaming services to make-up money lost from the Box Office due to COVID.  This obviously benefits those studios (and other studios who sell their films to other streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime), but is devastating to theater chains.

While I personally have been streaming HBO service for years, the HBO Max subscription numbers have been lagging behind Apple TV+, Disney+, and Netflix (and, presumably, Amazon Prime though I don't know that for sure).  I've had the AMC pass for a few years now, and previously had the Movie Pass subscription service for a year or more.  I say that only to stress that I _LOVE_ the theatrical experience generally, and prior to the pandemic I was easily seeing 2-3 films in theaters a week (less during the fall when I'm way busy with marching band teaching, more in the spring and early summer if there are a ton of movies in theaters I want to see and have to pay 'extra' for that).  I've always loved the theatrical experience, even if said experience has devolved over the years.  Theaters who 'cheap out' with presentation don't help the situation; it's incredibly common for chain like AMC to run their projection bulb, and incredibly expensive piece of equipment, far lower than what its supposed to be at in order to 'save money;' this makes the screen much dimmer than intended, and films show with low light in order to enhance shadows lose A LOT in these theaters - see the controversy recently with SOLO, where the film looked like garbage in sub-standard theaters who projected the film with dim bulbs.  Add to the fact that most theater management don't seem to care when patrons talk over movies and/or mess around on their phones (this literally is a weekly annoyance for me in my neighborhood AMC: MUCH less so at my neighborhood arthouse theater that cares about the 'experience' and enforces those policies).  Theaters have invested in comfy seats and better food while neglecting the presentation aspect of it: as if my couch + home-cooked meals aren't as good.  I have no problems paying premium pricing for good presentation & audience management, and I believe until theaters get this right and focus where they should they'll continue to have financial problems well after the pandemic subsides.

That all being said, streaming is taking hold in the age of COVID.  I'm really excited about my Christmas Day double feature of Pixar's SOUL on Disney+ followed up with Wonder Woman 84.  I've been excited at streaming films like the latest BILL & TED adventure and others, and look forward to David Fincher's latest MANK when it drops soon (as well as Nolan's TENET).  My wife has health concerns that makes me taking chances in my local theaters a non-starter, so I'm glad that studios are offering their films to streaming or VOD services while being confined to movies-at-home.  I honestly don't know if this will continue after COVID is no longer an obstacle to public safety (some industry experts think not, some think so) but I do know that studios really like money & studios that at least own their own streaming services have options there that wouldn't involve giving a cut of the profits to theater owners. 
I personally think big tentpole films have to have theatrical BO to exist (the latest MCU film is likely NOT going to make bank streaming as it would theatrically, which is why Disney seems fine waiting the pandemic out before releasing BLACK WIDOW or whatever else to Disney+ or VOD), but it seems plausible lower and even mid-level films can do financially well spilling streaming/VOD with theatrical.

For those of you who aren't nerdy enough to pay attention to what upcoming film releases are attached to which, here’s a list of the WB films that are expected to be included in this deal (besides WW84):

Quote
The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In The Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Reminiscence, Malignant, Dune, The Many Saints of Newark ("Sopranos" spin-off 'prequel' type film), King Richard, Cry Macho, and The Matrix 4.
. Every single one of these movies will be available in 4K Ultra HD and HDR on HBO Max!

In light of a pandemic, this seems like a good thing for people who are HBO Max subscribers
« Last Edit: December 03, 2020, 11:42:57 AM by perc2100 »

Offline chocolateshake

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Re: WB releasing everything in theaters AND HBO Max for next 12 months!!
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2020, 12:39:42 PM »
I heard this on CNBC this morning.  I ask the same question they did.  How will theaters stay in business?  Movie theaters are already on their knees.  AMC is down 16% today.

The way they are doing it is also unique.  From what I can understand, it won't be like a standard movie put on HBO where it will be there for months or forever.  These movies will be released on the same day it's released in theaters.  They will only be on HBO for a month.  After that they will be available at theaters or other traditional means like blu-ray and pay per view.  So they are treating HBOmax pretty much like a movie theater chain with a set availability.

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Offline perc2100

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Re: WB releasing everything in theaters AND HBO Max for next 12 months!!
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2020, 02:13:03 PM »
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I heard this on CNBC this morning.  I ask the same question they did.  How will theaters stay in business?  Movie theaters are already on their knees.  AMC is down 16% today.

The way they are doing it is also unique.  From what I can understand, it won't be like a standard movie put on HBO where it will be there for months or forever.  These movies will be released on the same day it's released in theaters.  They will only be on HBO for a month.  After that they will be available at theaters or other traditional means like blu-ray and pay per view.  So they are treating HBOmax pretty much like a movie theater chain with a set availability.
Right, the unorthodox release DOES give some room for theatrical 'exclusivity' in a deal that kind of placates theater owners as well as WB needing to make money (which they almost certainly will see a significant uptick in their WB-owned HBO Max subscribers).  IMO movie theaters will need to compete w/home theaters the same way they did when TV's first became a thing: stressing the unique awesomeness of presentation.  We saw Cinemascope and other wide-screen formats developed because of studios & theaters afraid of TV taking business away (goofy trivia: the Fox Fanfare 'extension' that I used to associate w/SW films in the 1980's was developed as a musical 'tag' for Fox to add "In Cinemascope!" card before the movie).  I think between big blockbusters likely needing theaters to make big profits (and I still think its been likely proven folks will flock to the latest, say, MCU or SW film on the big screen post-COVID) plus folks wanting to just go for the spectacle of film (TENET didn't make nearly as much as it wanted to, but still made about 1/3rd of a billion dollars right in the middle of a major pandemic) theaters will be fine eventually.  I think theaters can also help themselves by stressing the 'magic' of the theater experience, by focusing on immaculate presentation (bright screens; no talking or cellphones strictly enforced as The Alamo Drafthouse cinemas do).

I do think this is the genie in the bottle, so to speak, meaning it will be difficult for WB, Disney, etc. to take this expeditious streaming away post-COVID.  But I don't think theaters will completely die IF THEY'RE SMART about it (a big if, admittedly).

A friend of mine put it pretty good by saying
Quote
What this really means is that Warner Bros is the first studio to genuinely lock in their 2021 slate. I believe they'll make those dates now. I have zero faith in anyone else holding firm at this point.
and that's important for the industry as well: equally important for theater owners who know know & can count on those films being released in theaters at those films' given release dates.  I suspect most of the other studios will strike similar deals with streaming companies as a means of stabilizing the industry.

**EDIT**
A friend of mine on Twitter brought up the point speculating that HBO may raise its price for a 'higher' level for this premium content (he joked "HBO Max TO THE MAX!!") and that seems like a plausible reality.  That would be a bummer, IMO, as it seems like HBO Max is one of the more expensive services.  Maybe they'll pull a 'Disney+' and charge premium VOD prices for these new releases.   :-X
« Last Edit: December 03, 2020, 05:06:51 PM by perc2100 »

Offline alyssa

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Re: WB releasing everything in theaters AND HBO Max for next 12 months!!
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2020, 07:19:26 AM »
anyone considering signing up for hbo max?
they've got a 6 months for $70 buck deal going on till jan 15.

6 months would cover till early summer. I am not sure there's enough new movies being released to be worth the expense.
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Offline mark

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Re: WB releasing everything in theaters AND HBO Max for next 12 months!!
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2020, 08:24:07 AM »
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anyone considering signing up for hbo max?
they've got a 6 months for $70 buck deal going on till jan 15.

6 months would cover till early summer. I am not sure there's enough new movies being released to be worth the expense.

We're still on the promo rate from DC Universe, but I think that ends after this month. Imho the Studio Ghibli movies and the Criterion Collection stuff (been watching Kurosawa stuff with my son this week) already make it worth it, for a while at least.

Offline alyssa

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Re: WB releasing everything in theaters AND HBO Max for next 12 months!!
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2020, 02:10:08 PM »
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We're still on the promo rate from DC Universe, but I think that ends after this month. Imho the Studio Ghibli movies and the Criterion Collection stuff (been watching Kurosawa stuff with my son this week) already make it worth it, for a while at least.
i didn't realize hbo max had the Kurosawa movies... that's a plus!
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Offline mark

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Re: WB releasing everything in theaters AND HBO Max for next 12 months!!
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2020, 02:20:24 PM »
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i didn't realize hbo max had the Kurosawa movies... that's a plus!

Not everything, but they have Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo, Ikiru, and Rashomon currently.  Was a lot of fun watching Hidden Fortress with my son who has seen everything Star Wars.