Warner Bros. has some big plans for HBO max in 2022, but it won’t be quite the same as the day-and-date strategy of 2021.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to rage across the planet, Warner Bros. made the unprecedented decision to release its entire 2021 slate of films day-and-date in theaters and on HBO Max. The program was met with mixed reactions from filmmakers, but the plan seems to have worked for the studio. Now, going into 2022, Warner Bros. seems set to change strategies once again.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar spoke with investors this week and assured them that “motion pictures matter and will continue to matter” while announcing a plan for a minimum of 10 original films on HBO Max in 2022. While he did not call out the names of any of the movies, we know that several DC-related properties are in development, with the Batgirl film being the furthest along in development.
As to the plans for theatrical films in 2022, Kilar said he doesn’t see the industry “going back to the way the world was in 2015, 2016, or 2017″ when it comes to first-run theatrical windows. During that period, films were exclusive to theaters for 75 to 90 days from its debut, but it appears the new plan will see that shrink to 45 days. “Clearly motion pictures matter and will continue to matter,” Kilar said. “They also matter at home in terms of the response we’ve gotten” he said regarding the number of subscribers HBO Max has added.
Kilar told analysts on that call that studios will “see this industry continue to evolve and innovate in ways that work for not only for consumers and fans but also for our business partners.”
It doesn’t seem, however, that Kilar will completely close the door on day-and-date releases. According to Variety, WarnerMedia will take distribution plans for 2022 releases on a film-by-film basis. The 45-day window seems to be the preferred option, however.