One of the biggest controversies of the pandemic was when Warner revealed that it had planned to do hybrid premieres; that is, his films were going to be released in theaters at the same time as on his streaming service HBO Max. The announcement was made on December 3, 2020 and they simply said that they would release seventeen movies simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max and did so without consulting anyone. The chains of cinemas felt abandoned by the studio and the directors of those films felt that the world was upon them. Christopher Nolan did not hesitate to say at the time that it had been an act of treason for his creatives and his actors:
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Some of our industry’s top filmmakers and top movie stars went to bed the night before (December 3) thinking they were working for the best movie studio and woke up to find they were working for the worst streaming service.
The reality is that many directors felt completely betrayed by this decision and they revealed it over the months. However, movies like Godzilla Vs. Kong or Conjuring 3: The Devil Forced Me have done well in theaters and, reportedly, on HBO Max. Not long ago it was said that Dune is only going to be released in theaters. Its director was one of the main detractors of its premiere at the same time in streaming. If true, it is a sign that Warner already has the confidence that films can be released exclusively in theaters without presenting major losses to the studio.
Also read: HBO Max earned just 11 million subscribers in its first year
In this vein, James Wan spoke with The LA Times and revealed that he thinks the film is going to be released exclusively in theaters because the studio agrees that it should be seen on the largest possible screen:
This movie needs to be seen on the biggest screen around the world and the studio understands that too.
It must be taken into account that this film will be released in December 2022. It is possible that the study thinks that by then the situation with the pandemic will have already been fixed and the situation with the cinemas has been normalized as far as possible Given the circumstances.
In fact, it must be remembered that not long ago Jason Killar, CEO of Warner Bros. and Warner Media said that by 2022 they had planned that their major releases would once again be exclusive to theaters as was the custom in the previous world to COVID-19:
I think it’s fair to say that a big movie, let’s say a DC movie… it’s safe to say that that would exclusively go to theaters first and then end up somewhere else like HBO Max after it’s in theaters.
On the other hand, that same individual admitted that his way of making the announcement about the hybrid launches was not correct; they should have started a dialogue with the directors and with the actors:
There is no doubt that what happened in early December last year was somewhat bumpy. If I had a chance to do it all over again, I think it’s fair to say that we would have taken a couple more days to see if we could have more conversations than we could.
It is true that this announcement was bumpy since it angered several directors who had no idea that they were directing films that would only be released in streaming. That was the case with Dune director Denis Villeneuve, who went furious after the announcement and went so far as to say that they were killing the franchise:
Warner Bros. ‘decision means that’ Dune ‘will not have the opportunity to perform financially to be viable and piracy will ultimately triumph. Warner Bros. may have killed the ‘Dune’ franchise. This is for the fans. AT & T’s John Stankey said the streaming racehorse came out of the stable. Indeed, the horse left the stable for the slaughterhouse.
Do not stay without reading: HBO Max earned just 11 million subscribers in its first year