HBO Max 2021 Movie Previews
As Covid-19 continues to take its toll on the movie industry, the HBO Max streaming service announced that some of the biggest film releases of the year will be going straight to the platform, with a simultaneous limited release at theatres that are still open.
The hugely anticipated Wonder Woman 1984, which we should all have seen by now, will be given the HBO treatment on December 25th, with a cinema and streaming release, and according to the heads of the studio, all Warner releases for 2021 will receive the same treatment as the year lumbers into view.
For fans of on-demand viewing, there’s no harm no foul, however, the theatre loving public, the cinema chains, and everyone that works within film, are not happy.
The first to really cause waves is Tenet director Christopher Nolan. Nolan, a huge and respected name in film, saw his blockbuster Tenet being released during the lockdown, and the film, the studio, and its backers, were no doubt disappointed with the results.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Nolan said, “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find they were working for the worst streaming service.” The damning statement continued, with Nolan questioning the whole affair: “Their decision makes no economic sense, and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.”
Among the other huge movies that will not receive a huge red carpet opening include Suicide Squad, Matrix 4, Dune, Godzilla vs Kong, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The Many Saints of Newark, In The Heights, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mortal Kombat, Tom and Jerry, King Richard, Little Things, Those Who Wish Me Dead, Reminiscence, Malignant and Cry Macho.
With Nolan ramping up the criticism, it seems that the industry is not going to hand these films over easily. There is rumbling from Legendary that lawsuits may be looming as they fight the move.
Rough figures show that the launch of the platform HBO Max may not have reached the heights they aimed for. It appears around 8.6 million people have so far subscribed, and it’s worth noting that it’s not available just now in the UK, although there will be ways to get around this using VPN’s you will probably need a subscription and that may prove difficult to get in the UK.
With similar platforms such as Disney Plus gathering over 50 million subscribers in its first 8 months with monthly growth thereafter, it seems HBO Max has a long way to go, and the current industry backlash gives the company more headaches than they probably want.
Perhaps there is a lack of insight from the big wigs behind the decisions that have been made, insiders certainly seem to suggest that AT&T CEO John Stankey and Warner Media CEO Jason Kilar may not have a true understanding of the intricacies of the industry.
How this will affect the movie-making process as we go forward is anyone’s guess. As we are not privy to the inner working of blockbuster films such as Wonder Woman 1984, it is hard to imagine the current discussions surrounding those involved. What we do know though is that stars such as Gal Gadot often receive the big paychecks after the film is released, with the box office takings often funding payments to many key players. How these arrangements may diminish with the closure of cinemas and a lackluster streaming service experience is hard to gauge.
It has to be said that films such as Dune and Matrix 4 have been made to be watched at the cinema and no matter the size of your TV set, it will be hard to replicate the cinema-going experience, and if the future is HBO Max, it could spell a desperate end to blockbuster Warner Hollywood films.