Hollywood, Theater Owners Sound Off on Warner Bros.’ Bold HBO Max Move: ‘They’re Playing With Fire’

Sunday - 06/12/2020 09:25
Planet Caladan 'dune' Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture
Planet Caladan 'dune' Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture
“I guess the movie theaters will just be Halloween stores now.”

That was the glib response from a veteran studio executive on Thursday, joining a chorus of powerbrokers, agents and other Hollywood insiders floored by the news that Warner Bros. Pictures will be releasing 17 movies — its entire 2021 slate —  simultaneously in movie theaters and on the streaming service HBO Max.

In the moments leading up to the announcement, which will make the likes of “Matrix 4,” “Dune,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights” and “The Suicide Squad” available for free to HBO Max subscribers for 31 days on the same day they release in theaters, film journalists started softening up the ground on Twitter. They promised an extinction-level event, the kind audiences typically find in the blockbusters cooked up by the Burbank-based Warner Bros.

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