Warner Bros. to return to theatrical releases in 2022, ending its HBO Max experiment


Warner Bros. will return to release its films exclusively in theaters next year, Term reports. The decision ends the studio’s experiment in 2021 to release major movies like Wonder Woman 1984, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Suicide squad, Dune, Y Matrix 4 simultaneously on its HBO Max streaming service and in theaters for the first 30 days of its release.

The news comes as part of an announcement by Warner Bros. of a new deal with the owner of Regal Cinemas, Cineworld, the world’s second-largest theater chain. After more than six months of closings, Regal theaters will reopen in April and will begin showing Warner Bros. Kong vs. Godzilla Y Mortal Kombat along with his HBO Max debuts.

When Warner Bros. movies return to theaters in 2022, Regal Cinemas will once again have full exclusivity (no HBO Max or paid streaming rental competition). But that window of exclusivity will be for a much shorter period of time: Regal will only have a 45-day theatrical exclusivity window, half the standard of 90 days that existed in previous years.

The shortened theatrical window coincides with recent changes from other studios instigated by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the movie business. Paramount recently announced similar 45-day windows for its highest-grossing films such as Mission: Impossible 7 and an even shorter 30-day window for smaller titles. Universal has also signed similar deals with both AMC and Cinemark: Movies with premieres of less than $ 50 million domestically will hit paid video services 17 days after their debut, while movies on weekends. Major premieres can begin to rent 31 days after debuting.

Disney has similarly been experimenting with premium day-and-date streaming releases through its Disney Plus Premiere Access program, which has offered movies such as Mulan Y Raya and the last dragon early for an additional fee of $ 30.

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