In a huge move that has shaken the movie and streaming industries, Warner Bros. has made the bold decision to release all it's upcoming movies for next year on its HBO Max streaming service as well as in cinemas on the same day. Wonder Woman 1984 will get the ball rolling on Xmas Day, and Warner Bros. decided to follow through with all its 2021 movies. This is an unprecedented move, and one of great foresight on behalf of Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. will also not be charging any extra cost to stream its new movies, unlike Disney who charged users an additional $30 to watch Mulan on top of their subscription to Disney+ when it was first released (the additional payment has now been removed).
Movies being released on streaming services instead of in cinemas is not entirely new, just look at Netflix. But those are usually movies intended for streaming. Warner Bros. made these movies with the intention of releasing them in cinemas, so to release them online is a huge gamble, one that will undoubtedly make its competitors wary.
Some have called this the first nail in the coffin of cinemas, but I don't think so. The cinematic experience can't be replicated in a home, and some movies will always be better enjoyed on a huge screen in a large hall with some incredible acoustics. Besides, Warner Bros. has only made this commitment to its 2021 movies, claiming it's far too early to make any sort of decision for the years to come. Not only that, for countries where HBO Max is not available, cinemas will be the only avenue for people to watch these movies.
What do you make of this decision? I like it, and it shows that Warner Bros. is thinking outside the box and would rather utilise streaming technology than compete with it. I don't think it will kill cinemas, especially globally, as HBO Max is only available in the US. Additionally, that cinematic experience is something I, and I'm sure many others, are not ready to give up just yet.