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Warner Bros. to release 17 films to HBO Max same day as in theaters

Dramatically altering the normal pattern of movie releasems, Warner Bros. on Thursday said it will release 17 films — including “Dune,” “The Matrix 4” and “The Suicide Squad” — to its HBO Max streaming service for 31 days the same day they premiere in theaters.

Apple to distribute HBO Max

Jon Swartz for MarketWatch:

News of Warners’ move sent shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. down sharply 18%. The unprecedented strategy comes amid the worst stretch of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced the closure of movie theaters nationwide.

Warner previously said “Wonder Woman 1984” will be available on HBO Max as well as theaters on Dec. 25.

The studio’s slate of 2021 releases include the aforementioned three movies plus “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Space Jam: A New Legacy.”

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously theater owners hope that once COVID-19 vaccines are widely distributed and blockbuster movies are more regularly released to the public, that these trends will reverse, but we wouldn’t bank on it. These behaviors have likely been changed forever, as predicted:

Let’s see:

A) $19.99 for a first-run movie in the comfort of your own house on a large screen, with controllable audio volume (even closed captioning if you desire), with the entire family and your own all-you-can-eat popcorn, candy, and drinks for under $10 total for everyone

or

B) At least $80.00 for a family of four with criminally-overpriced often-stale popcorn, candy, and drinks at a potentially COVID-encrusted theater packed with uncouth idiots from who-knows-where talking, eating, coughing, sneezing, crunching bags, looking their phones, getting up to go to the bathroom, etc.

It’s such a difficult choice!

The $10 bucket of 10-cents worth of popcorn and the $6 cup of 6-cents worth of soda are obvious clues that theatre owners don’t have a sustainable business model.

Bottom line: It took a global pandemic to wake up Hollywood and drag it kicking and screaming into the new millennium at least a decade late. We’re sure Steve Jobs was telling Hollywood honchos this would happen long ago. — MacDailyNews, April 28, 2020

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