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Matrix 4, Dune, Godzilla vs. King Kong: Warner streams movies directly from 2021 on

Last updated on March 9, 2021

Warner has announced that all his 2021 movies will be released simultaneously in the cinema and in Streaming. This puts pressure on the industry.

An analysis from
Peter Osteried
4. December 2020, 10:58am Warner puts pressure on cinemas.
(Picture: Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay)

Warner has decided that all of his 2021 movies – and this includes blockbusters like Matrix 4, Dune and Godzilla vs. King Kong – will not only be released in theaters, but will also be available on HBOMax on the same day – and without any additional fee. Interested parties only have to pay a monthly fee for HBOMax. The movie pleasure is therefore much cheaper than in the cinema, especially if more than one person is watching the movie.

With this, Warner goes even further than Universal, for example, which grants cinemas a 17-day exclusive period before the film is made available as VoD. Warner also goes further in financial terms. After all, this year’s major cinema films that came via VoD usually cost more than 20 euros. The streaming service fee, on the other hand, is a cinch – it’s 14.99 dollars.

It was already a bitter blow for the cinemas in the USA when Warner Bros. announced that Wonder Woman would be shown in the cinemas in 1984 at the same time, but also on their own streaming service HBOMax. The explanation was that this would give the audience a choice and allow them to watch the film in areas where cinemas were closed. The cinema operators grudgingly accepted this. But now Warner took out the big club – probably for two reasons.

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Why Warner streams all movies directly

On the one hand, there is hardly any planning security for the next year, which is why theatrical releases are shaky anyway, on the other hand, this pushes the streaming service and puts the competition under pressure.

Because in view of the density of blockbusters that will be released next year on HBOMax, Disney will probably also be forced to create more films for Disney+. So far, only a few films that were previously intended for the cinema have been announced for exclusive streaming, including Pixar’s Soul and Cruella with the unsympathetic lady from 101 Dalmatians. Now it is possible, that Disney, for example, has to follow up with the Marvel film Black Widow.

Warner puts his own interests first. Of course, these films have to be monetized, as some of them were also produced on credit and therefore interest payments in the millions are incurred. Holding them back forever won’t help either, especially since a jumble of big films will be pushing their way into the cinemas in 2021 anyway, in case something like normality occurs with vaccinations. Otherwise, cannibalization will begin in 2022.

The cinema is losing its importance

In the long run, however, this also means something else: the importance of cinema is being undermined. For decades, cinema was the primary source with which studios made a lot of money. With their own streaming services, however, the middleman can be removed from the equation in the long term – and this is all the more true once people have gotten used to being able to watch the big movies right at home on the day of release.

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cinema will not disappear completely, but it will become less important. The big cinema chains in the USA reacted accordingly. AMC was told that they would be talking to Warner in the next few days.

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Among other things, there is the threat that films that are simultaneously offered in streaming can only be shown in cinemas with extremely low ticket prices of 1 to 5 US dollars, as hardly anyone will pay 15 US dollars for a ticket, if they get HBOMax for the same amount for a whole month.

It is a paradigm shift that has been in the offing for some time, but will be accelerated by the pandemic. The winners are the film studios that have their own streaming channels – Warner, Disney and to a lesser extent Paramount. The future looks less bright for Sony and Universal, as they have not established themselves in this sector, but both could increasingly become suppliers.

And in Germany?

The question remains as to how Warner’s decision will affect Germany. Because HBOMax does not yet exist in this country. Emphasis is placed on the word “yet”. Because an expansion in Europe has also been announced for the second half of 2021 Until then, Warner sticks to the cinema releases anyway. It is still unclear, however, whether the films will also be viewable via VoD channels at the same time. However, a video-on-demand solution will have to be offered in Germany as well, since an extension of the lockdown until January 10, 2021 has long since been decided, so that the launch of Wonder Woman 1984 on December 23 will be cancelled anyway. Accordingly, this film, but also the others will surely be available via VoD portals – then of course more expensive than it is in the USA with HBOMax. Warner will bring these films to the cinema and HBOMax at the same time next year: The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In the Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Reminiscence, Malignant, Dune, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard, Cry Macho and Matrix 4.

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