Warner Bros is going back to theater-first releases in 2022 – Engadget
Warner Bros is planning a return to normality for its big movie releases next year. The current strategy of releasing all of the studio’s films on HBO Max and in theaters on the same day won’t continue beyond 2021. Jason Kilar, CEO of parent company WarnerMedia, told Recode that Warner Bros will go back to the old model of a theatrical premiere for major movies before streaming them on HBO Max at a later date.
If you want to catch The Batman on opening weekend next March, you’ll need to head to the theater. But not just any cinema. Next year, Regal Cinemas in the US (for 45 days) and Cineworld in the UK (for 31-45 days) will have first dibs on all Warner Bros theatrical releases before they’re available to watch elsewhere. So, although Warner Bros already planned a return to an initial theatrical-only release model in 2023, doing so next year won’t come as a huge surprise.
It’s clear that WarnerMedia expects it’ll be back to business as usual in the near future as vaccine programs continue to ramp up. There have already been some signs of life for the movie industry, as Godzilla vs. Kong became one of the biggest pandemic-era theatrical hits, pulling in $50 million on its domestic opening last weekend.