**DRUNKEN YODA UPDATE**
Hollywood Reports has it that Warner is not just releasing WW84 to HBOMAX, they are dumping ALL movies to MAX on the same day as release.
The studio announced Thursday day-and-date releases for its 17-film slate, which will hit HBO Max for a one-month window that starts the same day they will be available in U.S. theaters.
The studio’s 2021 slate includes projects such as The Suicide Squad, The Matrix 4, Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong and Space Jam: A New Legacy. Other films include Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In the Heights, Reminiscence, Malignant, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard and Cry Macho.
The unprecedented move is likely to catch theater owners off guard and upsets a model that has been in place for decades. Warner Bros. stresses that these are pandemic-only rules, but once something is broken, can you really put it back together again? This also raises serious concerns about the landscape of moviegoing in 2021.
This is huge and a big blow to theaters. Will the rest of the studios follow suit? Certanly Disney is in a position to do so but after that, who knows?
On top of that, Disney is laying off 100 executives in their entertainment divisions. Are any of these the ones who have ruined Marvel comics, Star Wars, and forced a lot of woke nonsense on us? To them I say LOLGF and learn to code.
“It’s a bloodbath.” That’s how two longtime Disney staffers have described the wave of layoffs happening at the company Thursday.
The staff reductions are taking place in Disney’s General Entertainment Content unit, overseen by Peter Rice, and Dana Walden’s Walt Disney Television division, including ABC and studio 20th Television. Sources say more than 100 staffers have been impacted by Thursday’s layoffs. “I’m sure Disney’s seen worse, but it feels pretty significant,” said one longtime executive familiar with the cutbacks. Disney declined comment. (THR will update this post with more information as it becomes available.)
**ORIGINAL STORY BELOW**
After Disney’s Mulan experiment earlier in the year, all eyes now turn to Wonder Woman 1984 to see what she can do on streaming in the face of ongoing cinema closures and the pandemic. Being released at no extra cost on HBO Max is a big statement from Warner Bros. With no idea when fans will return to theaters, or if many of the theaters survive, it is a statement that all the other studios are watching closely.
With options ranging from holding releases until whenever the world opens up, and whenever crowds feel like returning to theaters, all the way through to using their streamers as PVOD channels behind an additional pay-wall, studios aren’t short of route to market. It’s just that they curently have no data for this.
Studios are expecting market instability throughout 2021 though. This means a movie that comfortably would have brushed $1 billion may now stuggle to make $500 million in a 2021, post-COVID theater market. This makes studios worry.
So the Wonder Woman 1984 experiment is key to not just Warner’s, but the whole industry. Remember that this will be released in thaters globally wherever they are open. In the US, where major markets remain closed it will be put on HBO Max for a one-month limited run. It will then be pulled and follow the tranditional release strategy.
If this drives people to HBO Max for one month in great numbers they will consider it a success. If some of those new visitors then stick around and stay subscribed then Warner Bros. will consider this a potential strategy for elsewhere. The rest of the industry are watching.
Variety agree with this view. Today they are reporting that this won’t be a one-off but, in their words, a “testbed”. Other movies potentially lined up for testing are Judas and the Black Messiah starring Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, crime thriller The Little Things with Denzel Washington, and the Tom and Jerry movie. The Mortal Kombat reboot is also being considered.
It’s is also hinted that Sony may work on something similar regarding Morbius on Disney+.