The debate is ongoing about the future of theatres post COVID. Mulan did big business for Disney as a PVOD streaming release via Disney+. Wonder Woman 2 and Zack Snyder’s Justice League scored big eyeball counts for HBO Max as part of the Warner Bros. day and date release strategy.

Since then Godzilla Vs. Kong blew past both of those records. HBO Max is very, very happy with its strategy.

That said, Godzilla Vs. Kong has scored decent box-office too, for a movie released when a large number of US cinemas are still closed, as are several other major overseas markets. Where they are open, there are pandemic-driven capacity limits. This has given theatres hope of a return to normality.

So while the current day and date approach looked set for Warner Bros. and HBO Max for at least the remainder of 2021, there is apparently still one hold out. Denis Villeneuve’s Dune.

This is apparently Warner Bros. biggest release of the year and Legendary co-financed and co-produced the sci-fi epic. Legendary is still pushing back, as is director Villeneuve.

The Godzilla Vs. Kong numbers have hinted that releases towards the end of the year could be back at something approaching normal box-office levels. Legendary is still pushing and Warner Bros. may pause for thought.

The current release date is October 1st. Plans for 2022 and onwards are for HBO Max releases 45 days after a theatre release as long as box-office revenue has sunk below a certain level. If this happens for Dune, as is likely as all movies make their significant bank in their first 2 to 3 weeks of release these days, then we would still see it by the middle of November on HBO Max and on PVOD internationally.

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