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HBO Max Boss On How He Would Have Handled Theatrical Movies Going To Streaming Differently

Paul Atreides pondering over the impending trip to Arrakis in Dune

As most moviegoers and fans know, Warner Bros. received an avalanche of backlash from its day-to-date release plan with HBO Max. Everyone from celebrated directors to DCEU stars shared their opinion on the strategy. Some even expressed their discontent with the company over its decision. But time has passed since the announcement made headlines in 2020. Now, looking through the rearview mirror, Warner Bros. may have a different take on the whole experience. HBO Max boss Jason Kilar revealed what he may have done differently with theatrical movies going to streaming in retrospect.

This new perspective on the hybrid backlash marked a change in attitude from Jason Kilar. Given the big pushback from several directors, Kilar seemed steadfast in the company’s stance on their hybrid strategy. But now, he seemed to understand Hollywood’s apprehension toward the model initially. The Warner Bros. CEO said to The Hollywood Reporter about the handling of the company’s hybrid release plan:

I will be the first one to say, and the responsibility rests on my shoulders, that, in hindsight, we should have taken the better part of a month to have over 170 conversations — which is the number of participants that are in our 2021 film slate. We tried to do that in a compressed period of time, less than a week, because of course there was going to be leaks there was going to be everybody opining on whether we should do this or not do this.

At least, the HBO Max head was able to look back and see where communication errors were made in coming to such an important decision. At the time, the plan made sense as the world and Hollywood were still unsure about the future of theatrical releases. So, Warner Bros.’s hybrid release model worked for giving moviegoers multiple viewing options to see their favorite film. As Jason Kilar pointed out, there should’ve been conversations with the talent before making such a major decision.

After putting together such a polarizing plan, Jason Kilar and Warner Bros.’s decision paid off in the end. According to him, the hybrid model has worked out for the studio and the talent. So far, the strategy has worked to mixed results for Warner Bros. Some have been huge hits across the board while others have done better with one component over the other. Of course, the plan’s success led to Warner Bros. extending it to its 2022 theatrical releases.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20 after the initial fallout from Hollywood. With any new or innovative ideas, not everyone is going to be on board at first. Thankfully, Warner Bros. has seen where communication could’ve been better in some areas. Viewers can now watch Warner Bros.’ 2021 films and upcoming 2022 slate without worrying about the behind-the-scenes drama.

Adreon Patterson

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).