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As a result of the current health crisis, a lot of movies that were set to play in theaters this year ended up going straight to either VOD or a streaming service. Wonder Woman 1984, on the other hand, has changed the game, as it was announced a few weeks back that in addition to its theatrical run still kicking off on December 25, the sequel will also be made available on HBO Max the same day. Now apparently Warner Bros is considering giving a handful of its other upcoming movies the same treatment.
Rather than Wonder Woman 1984’s theatrical/HBO Max hybrid release being a one-off decision, Variety reports that that Judas and the Black Messiah, The Little Things and Tom & Jerry are all movies in consideration to play on both big screens and the WarnerMedia streaming service. The Mortal Kombat reboot was also apparently in consideration for this treatment, but WB has apparently decided to delay the movie’s release. Mortal Kombat was previously slated for January 15, 2021, but is currently undated, while The Little Things is set for January 29, 2021; Tom & Jerry is set for March 5, 2021; and Judas and the Black Messiah is set for an unspecified date in 2021.
This information comes days after it was reported that Godzilla vs. Kong might also be heading to streaming, and that WarnerMedia supposedly blocked a deal for Netflix to acquire the movie in favor of putting it on HBO Max. It hasn’t been confirmed yet if Godzilla vs. Kong will indeed be handled this way, although like Wonder Woman 1984, this is a tentpole blockbuster, so it would certainly benefit from being screened in theaters that are open along with being thrown onto HBO Max.
All this just goes to show the unprecedented times we live in, as the film industry is having to make tough decisions regarding movie releases. There’s no sign of the COVID-19 pandemic slowing down anytime soon, so with numerous theaters continuing to have to keep their doors shut, streaming is an alternative that, while not ideal in all cases, at least allows Warner Bros to get its content in front of eyes while people are quarantining/socially distancing. The alternative, as is being done with Mortal Kombat, is to simply keep delaying movies until it’s safe for theaters to resume business as usual.
Of course, Warner Bros isn’t the only movie studio having to deal with this dilemma. Over at Disney, both Artemis Fowl and Hamilton, both of which were originally supposed to play in theaters, were moved over to Disney+ at no extra cost, and the same is being done with Pixar’s Soul. The Mouse House’s streaming service also provided the live-action Mulan remake to subscribers for an additional $30. It was also recently reported that Disney was considering moving Cruella, Pinocchio and Peter Pan and Wendy straight to Disney+, while Black Widow is still intended for a traditional theatrical release.
Throw in Paramount selling movies like The Trial of the Chicago 7, Without Remorse and Coming 2 America to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu acquiring movies like Run and Happiest Season, and it just goes to show how significantly more important these platforms have become over the course of 2020, which is saying a lot considering how they’d already shaken up the entertainment sphere. As far as Warner Bros and its movies go, the studio is presumably waiting to see how Wonder Woman 1984 performs on HBO Max. Once those numbers come in, then the studio can decide which movies are worth keeping delayed and which ones should be put on HBO Max.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more news concerning delayed movies and features that are moving to streaming services. Keep track of what’s still on next year’s theatrical calendar with our 2021 release schedule.