WarnerMedia dropped a bombshell earlier today by announcing that its entire slate of 2021 blockbusters – including Dune, The Suicide Squad, and The Matrix 4 – would premiere simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. Reactions have been varied – some are excited to be able to watch first-run tentpoles safely at home, while others are lamenting the loss of a true theatrical experience for so many highly-anticipated releases. AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron, however, is absolutely livid.
It’s no secret that AMC, along with every other theater chain, has been struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, with many theaters closed and most others operating at an extremely limited capacity. Aron released a statement in response to Warner’s game-changing decision that does not mince words:
Image via Warner Bros.
“These coronavirus-impacted times are uncharted waters for all of us, which is why AMC signed on to an HBO Max exception to customary practices for one film only, Wonder Woman 1984, being released by Warner Brothers at Christmas when the pandemic appears that it will be at its height. However, Warner now hopes to do this for all their 2021 theatrical movies, despite the likelihood that with vaccines right around the corner the theatre business is expected to recover.Clearly, Warner Media intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max start up. As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense. We will aggressively pursue economic terms that preserve our business.
We have already commenced an immediate and urgent dialogue with the leadership of Warner on this subject.As this issue gets sorted out, we are nonetheless encouraged that vaccines protecting society at large against the coronavirus are very much at hand. So, it is our expectation that moviegoers soon will be able once again to delight in coming to our theatres without any worry — viewing the world’s best movies safely in our big seats, with our big sound and on our big screens.
It’s clear WarnerMedia blindsided just about everyone with this decision, unlike its previous announcement that Wonder Woman 1984 would be getting a simultaneous Christmas Day release on HBO Max. which could have potentially serious repercussions if other major studios like Disney follow suit.
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Tom Reimann is a writer and comedian and somehow an Associate Editor at Collider. He has written for Cracked.com, Mad Magazine, BunnyEars.com, and Some More News, and is the co-founder of the Gamefully Unemployed podcast network.
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