AMC and Warner Bros. have agreed that studio films will remain exclusively in theaters for 45 days instead of being immediately available digitally (through The Hollywood Reporter). Adam Aron, CEO of AMC, spoke about the matter during an incoming call, and that means Warner Bros. does not make his 2022 films, which include e.g. Batman and Sesame Street, available at home (or on HBO Max) only more than six weeks after they were released in theaters.
Warner Bros. already had a similar deal With the owners of Regal Cinemasbut today’s news seems to be really declaring an end streaming experiment the studio tried in 2021. While HBO Max may no longer receive movies on the same day as theaters, things don’t go back exactly the way they were before the pandemic: theaters used exclusive rights to movies Between 75-90 days, which is much longer than the agreements made now. Streaming is also clearly still a focus for Warner Bros. AMC said in a call that “all Warner Bros. movies” would get an exclusive window in 2022, but the CEO of WarnerMedia has said HBO Max gets 10 unique movies next year.
Warner Bros. is not the only studio negotiating to restore theater exclusivity. AMC and Universal have also entered into an agreement that allows only a 17-day exclusivity windowand Disney, together with Paramount, will be also makes a 45-day window. Most of these studios have their own streaming services to take care of and sell, but theaters still seem to be important to the film business. During the call, AMC said it has an “active dialogue with every major studio” about the theater’s exclusive windows.
Aron said during the call that the theater chain “wasn’t happy at all” when Warner Bros. ‘The plan was for the streaming and theatrical performances to take place on the same day. The theater chain was not alone in its anxiety. Directors such as Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049, Dune) and Christopher Nolan (Tenet, Initial) all except the announced same day streaming at the end of the movie.
Actors whose pay may be tied to ticket results were also dissatisfied with the day’s and day’s streaming releases with Scarlett Johansson sue Disney over Black Widowpublication. With actors, filmmakers and theaters opposing them, it’s not hard to see why studios are considering going back to the old way of publishing films (if they have shorter windows).
Numerous new theaters and acquisitions were also mentioned in the entry request – AMC says it will open about a dozen new theaters around the world and buy a handful of unspecified theaters from the Arclight / Pacific chain. stated that it would not be reopened after COVID earlier this year. Good news if you want to see the movie as soon as it is publicly available.