Warner Bros. made a bold decision late last year to begin streaming its 2021 slate of films day and date with their theatrical debuts. In a record-making deal with HBO Max, the company turned the Hollywood model on its head and gave filmgoers reason to pause before heading to theaters. When 2022 rolls around, however, WB will be going back to its traditional model of theater first debuts.
In an interview with Vox Media, Warner Bros. CEO Jason Kilar made it abundantly clear that WB will not be continuing with its streaming strategy going forward. “I think it’s very fair to say that a big, you know, let’s say a big DC movie…it’s very fair to say that that would go exclusively to theaters first and then go to somewhere like an HBO Max after it’s in theaters,” Kilar stated.
This news follows an announcement from late last month that Regal Cinemas’ parent company, Cineworld, had signed a deal with WB to premiere films in theaters 45 days before they hit streaming services. Warner Bros. hadn’t yet made the news official, but it seems the company was always planning to transition away from its HBO Max deal. That’s certainly a bummer for anyone that may have stocked up on years of Max just to watch WB films.