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WarnerMedia plans to remake its biggest films as a cinematic exclusive in 2022

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There is an old adage that once the genie is out of the bottle, it is almost impossible to put it back. WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar is going to see if he can pull off the impossible. Potter, MonsterVerse will play exclusively in theaters for 45 days before moving to a service “like HBO Max”, Kilar told Peter Kafka from Vox on an episode of Recode Media. This isn’t too surprising given that Cineworld, owner of Regal Cinemas, has previously announced a similar plan.

A major caveat is whether WarnerMedia has a similar deal with AMC. Last March, AMC CEO Adam Aron told analysts on an earnings call that “you have to rightly assume that if we are playing Warner movies, we have come to an agreement with Warner on the fact. that any change in their strategy is made in a way that benefits AMC shareholders, “but no formal announcement has been made.

Just like Universal, who has a similar agreement with AMC for a shortened theatrical window, a 45-day exclusive play period doesn’t mean Warner Bros. must withdraw its films after 45 days. If a movie like The Batman, Black Adam, or Fantastic Beasts III outperforms, Warner Bros. may keep the movie in theaters longer. Statistically, this is rarely the case. Most films make the majority of their box office revenue in the first three to five weeks to be in theaters about 21 to 40 days.Before the pandemic accelerated trends (like the importance of streaming and the near collapse of movie theater windows), studios had to commit to keeping their films in theaters for nearly 90 days. It worked well if the studio was Disney and movies like The Lion King, Avengers: Endgame, Toy Story 4, or Aladdin grossed north of $ 1 billion or $ 2 billion.

Most studios don’t see Disney’s overall success in theaters. Asking studios to commit to 90 days, especially when those studios are owned by larger conglomerates that have streaming services that they want to bundle with exciting new movies (remember: big titles get subscribers, a full library of movies and TV shows prevents them from canceling), is unrealistic.

Another undeniable part of the equation is theater attendance. Companies like WarnerMedia and Disney have used movie theater closures in 2020 to justify moving their movies to HBO Max and Disney + respectively. In countries where HBO Max and Disney + were not available, the films were released in theaters. In some cases, the studios have been successful. Principle raised 305 million dollars worldwide, while Soul caught $ 117 million worldwide, with $ 57 million coming from China alone, making it Pixar’s second most successful film in China.

In the United States, they did not come together. Tenet saw $ 58 million in the United States, while Wonder Woman 1984 raised $ 46 million. Executives probably assumed it would, and that’s why Wonder Woman 1984 was promoted as HBO Max title in the United States as it received a greater theatrical push internationally.

Wonder Woman 1984 pics

Things started to change with Godzilla vs Kong. The film has had “a bigger audience than any other movie or show on HBO Max since its launch,” according to the company, and also grossed $ 32.2 million. in its national opening weekend. That’s a staggering number considering the pandemic means theaters are still operating at limited capacity. Currently, the film has generated more than $ 250 million worldwide in just two weeks, leading industry analysts to state that the theaters are back, baby.

One of the biggest differences between the release of Tenet and now is the rollout of vaccines. When Godzilla vs Kong was released in the US on March 31, an average of 3.1 million vaccines started being administered daily, according to the Washington Post. The CDC estimates that as of April 6, about 19% of the U.S. population was vaccinated. In states like New York and California, about 85% of people will be vaccinated (achieving herd immunity) by July and October 2021 respectively. (New York and California also account for a significant percentage of movie theater revenues in the United States.) In China, another hugely important market for studios, the country’s government aims to vaccinate 40% of its population by mid-year, according to Reuters.

Even though 2021 is a theatrical wash, it’s clear that studios like Warner Bros. and Disney want to play nicely with exhibitors. The appetite of people to return to theaters when it is safe enough to do so is evident; in countries like China and Japan where the number of cases is lower, domestic film releases are see gigantic participation rates. Despite disturbing chants from industry insiders that “theaters are dead,” you don’t need to look any further than Avengers: Endgame Reaction clips on YouTube to see why people want to return to. their local cinema.

The same that was true in 2019 will likely be true in 2022, when countries start to see much higher vaccination rates: event style, sprawling movies will drive people to theaters. Everything else can go to HBO Max, Disney +, Peacock, Paramount + or whatever. While theater attendance has declined year over year on average, box office receipts have increased. Superhero movies (especially the MCU) and blockbusters from big franchises are the main reason why. When Kilar brings up The Batman, he doesn’t because it’s a random movie, it’s the exact type of title audiences will return to the theaters to watch.

Julia Alexander is IGN’s top streaming editor. Got a story tip? Message her on Twitter @loudmouthjulia or request her signal number by emailing [email protected]

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