Movie studios and the theaters that exhibit films are facing an unprecedented setback. Since movie theaters nationwide have remained closed for over a month and plan to continue into the middle of summer, studios such as Warner Bros are “rethinking” their business models in regards to theatrical releases. In WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey's words:
Earlier this week, Warner Bros announced its first planned release to completely skip a theatrical release and become available on digital. Scoob! will drop on May 15 for a $19.99 rental or $24.99 purchase. For now the rest of the studio’s big early summer releases such as Wonder Woman 1984 has simply been moved to a later date. Due to production stalls, many movies off of Warner Bros’ DC line-up were shifted back as well.
Warner Bros is actively trying to find ways to combat the money it is losing without the income of movie tickets during movie theater closures. Although theater chains have announced plans to start opening its doors in July just in time for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet to make its planned release date, John Stankey didn’t show complete confidence in a sudden recovery for chains. Here’s what else the WarnerMedia CEO said during the company’s quarterly call:
Warner Bros is getting ready to launch its own streaming service HBO Max on May 27 and produce more content for the platform that Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and AppleTV+ have found success with. The question is whether a statement such as this will result in more Warner Bros movies to go straight to digital like Scoob!.
Universal was the first studio to go against the theatrical model when the studio decided to release Trolls World Tour for rental on digital instead of moving its April release. Theater chains were unhappy with Universal’s decision to skip the theatrical model, commenting that “exhibitors will not forget this.”
Disney also made the move with Artemis Fowl, which will now stream exclusively on Disney+ in June. This trend has only affected family-friendly movies thus far. Event films that are looking at millions, maybe billions in worldwide box office earnings have been pushed back. Warner Bros’ In the Heights was just pushed a full year to keep its theatrical date. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter following the meeting, John Stankey reaffirmed his commitment to the theaters with this:
Neither theaters or studios are in an easy spot at the moment. Tenet is still set to be released on July 17 and Wonder Woman 1984 is coming on August 14. Stay up to date on what’s coming to theaters here on CinemaBlend.
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