Refresh for more: AMC Boss Adam Aron has weighed on WarnerMedia’s news about debuting its entire 2021 theatrical release slate simultaneously on HBO Max and he isn’t a happy camper. Wonder Woman 1984 as one-off was fine. However, the chain expects to fight hard when it comes to terms. Here’s what Aron had to say:
“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.”
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“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.”
We heard that the major exhibitors today received an hour’s heads up from Warners before the news broke. Some smaller exhibitors learned only seven minutes prior to the big HBO Max-theatrical 2021 windows news. By and large, many exhibitors are not happy and see this move by Warner Bros as doomsday. “Obviously they don’t care about theatrical anymore,” said one rival exhibition boss today about Warner Bros.
Here’s the thing: There might be hope for exhibition. As crazy and rosy colored eye-glassed as that sounds, if the pandemic quells by summer, there could conceivably be competition for screens by studios, and exhibition could entirely block simultaneous theatrical-and-streaming titles. Only time will tell. There’s another mindset that believes exhibition is certain to come out of this pandemic much smaller than anticipated with even more local cinemas closing down.
Practically speaking, we should know via the first three or four titles whether the theatrical-HBO Max model works or not. If a considerable amount of money is lost, and subscribers not gained, AT&T won’t be jolly.