Warner Bros. and HBO Max may impact the fate of movie-going after COVID-19


Photo Credit: Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licenses

Warner Bros. is a movie studio famous for distributing some of the biggest blockbusters. They are known for franchises such as The Matrix and Harry Potter.

By: Joe Sanfilippo

COVID-19 has caused the movie theater industry to lose a lot of money. Many movie studios are experimenting with release dates, as some films are releasing digitally. Though, Warner Bros. is trying something revolutionary.

Warner Bros.’ decision

Warner Bros. Pictures has decided to release their entire 2021 movies through streaming and theaters. Each film will stay on the service for a month but will continue its run in theaters.

Movies like The Matrix 4, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Mortal Kombat, and Tom & Jerry are a part of the lineup. Films like The Matrix received over $460 worldwide. HBO Max is currently $15 dollars a month. 

Feedback and criticism

Entertainment’s new site IGN stated, “We get to watch a bunch of brand new highly anticipated blockbuster movies for a reasonable monthly price without having to leave the comfort or safety of our homes. This is an incentive for more Americans to stay home, preventing further exposure and spread of COVID-19.” However, they also stated, “This is a massive blow to the movie theater industry, which was already suffering – especially smaller independently-run theaters – and it affects the thousands of people employed by theaters of any size.”

Many of Warner Bros’. beloved filmmakers were upset with the deal. Prestigious director Christopher Nolan hated the deal so much, he went on to call HBO Max; the worst streaming service ever. Legendary Entertainment, the production company that co-financed ‘Dune’ may take legal action over the deal. They are willing to negotiate, but if they have to take legal action; they will.

Adam Aron from AMC Theaters was very disappointed with Warner Bros.’ decision. He states, “Clearly, Warner Media intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max start-up. As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense. We will aggressively pursue economic terms that preserve our business.”

Analysts believe that Warner Bros. can do this in the future, as a lot of studios are competing in streaming. In fact, many insiders think the company can continue this throughout 2022. Most analysts seem to agree on the fact that you cannot give your subscribers access to the latest movies, and then abandon it.

Student’s thoughts

Matt Messina, an eleventh grader at Colonia High says that having both movies in theaters and streaming will “make unsure movie-goers comfortable.”

HBO Max has 28.7 million subscribers, but most of them haven’t activated their accounts. Only 8.6 million of those subscribers have activated their account. Due to HBO Max’s scattered release; HBO subscribers were unaware they also owned Max. HBO Max is not on Roku, which likely affected this.

Messina supports Warner Bros.’ decision, but Shane Boles thinks otherwise. Boles who is also an eleventh grader says how this could possibly hurt filmmakers and theaters. He feels that if other studios follow the same plan, movie-going could potentially end.