AMC Speaks Out Against Warner Bros.’ HBO Max 2021 Announcement
Following the surprising and game-changing announcement of WarnerMedia’s intention to give their entire 2021 movie slate a simultaneous theatrical and HBO Max release, different reactions have arisen. Some are fully on-board with the company’s bold release strategy, while others have understandably expressed their concerns over what this might mean for the future of theaters and the moviegoing experience.
AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron is one of the people who had expressed disappointment over the announcement. In a new statement (via Deadline) which you can read below, Aron wasted no time to speak out against Warner Bros., confirming they felt the studio has blindsided them with the HBO Max decision. He also revealed that AMC will not stand by and will aggressively take action against this issue by demanding an urgent meeting with WarnerMedia executives.
“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. 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.”
Theaters have been clearly struggling to stay open since the start of this ongoing pandemic. Studios’ move-to-streaming strategy have affected theaters, resulting in major losses and permanent closures. AMC was actually the first one who voiced their criticisms against this, as they previously banned all future Universal films from their theaters following the VOD success of Trolls: World Tour. However, the conflict was solved when Universal and AMC signed a multi-year agreement that would allow Universal and Focus Features films at least three weekends (17-days) of theatrical exclusivity before going into VOD.
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