After the pandemic closed theaters across the globe, we saw studios turning to streaming services to release their movies, but Warner Bros. took things one step further when they announced that they would be releasing their entire 2021 slate in both theaters and on HBO Max on the same day. The choice didn’t please everyone, especially the creative talent behind those movies, but it seems to have worked out not too badly. Although the studio will be moving back to a more traditional theatrical release method next year, just with a shortened theatrical window, that doesn’t mean that we’ll stop seeing big movies released on HBO Max.
During AT&T’s second quarter earnings call, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar revealed that Warner Bros. will develop “10 or more” movies exclusively for HBO Max in 2022, saying, “motion pictures matter and will continue to matter, [but] they also matter at home in terms of the response we’ve gotten from consumers who have signed up for HBO Max.” Kilar added that he doesn’t see studios going back to the way movies were released just a few years ago with the 90-day theatrical window, and we’ve already seen a handful of studios making deals with theater chains for a shortened window. The WarnerMedia CEO said that he expects to “see this industry continue to evolve and innovate in ways that work for not only for consumers and fans but also for our business partners.” The past year and a half has definitely shaken things up in more ways than one, and although the theatrical experience will always be treasured, I feel that we’ll get to see a wider variety of films being developed as studios may be more likely to take a chance on something unproven if it’s headed for a streaming service.
One such film that will be released on HBO Max in 2022 or 2023 is the Batgirl movie, which recently tapped In the Heights star Leslie Grace to star. At one time, that film would have been released in theaters, but Warner Bros. clearly wants to step up its production of HBO Max originals.