Warner Bros’ to Stream All 2021 New Releases on HBO Max

Evan Woo '22

For as long as movies have existed, the only way to watch new blockbusters was the theaters. It was widely accepted that the theater was the only option to watch these films unless you wanted to wait months to watch it at home.  However, the pandemic may have changed the status quo of how movies are released.  Throughout the pandemic, movie theaters have struggled, as the majority of people and movies are foregoing theaters in favor of watching from home.  With most movie theaters operating at a reduced capacity, Warner Bros announced in December that their entire slate of 2021 movies would stream on HBO Max starting the day of theatrical release [1].

Warner Bros’ 2021 releases include hotly anticipated big budget movies such as “Dune”, “Matrix 4”, and “The Suicide Squad”.  While streaming new releases means more options for customers, many fans and experts are worried by the news, and rightly so. New releases are one of the main draws for movie theaters, and losing their exclusive right to new content is a big blow for theaters already struggling to attract customers. Some may think this is only a problem for the theatres; however, fans should be worried too.  If the model of simultaneously releasing to streaming services and theaters continues past 2021, fans may see the budgets of their favorite movies start to decrease. Without theater releases, studios may not make enough money to justify spending 200 million dollars on a movie, resulting in lower quality films and worse casts [2].  For now, Warner Bros’ move to streaming is just a temporary one year measure to ensure that audiences will be able to see the movies at release.  Studios, fans, and theaters alike should all have their fingers crossed that the movie industry can return to normal in 2022.


  1. https://variety.com/2020/film/news/warner-bros-hbo-max-theaters-dune-matrix-4-1234845342/
  2. https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/movies/2020/12/03/warner-bros-every-2021-movie-hbo-max/3812015001/