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Warner Bros to stream next year's movies while they are in theaters

The movies, which are expected to include "Godzilla vs. Kong" and "Mortal Kombat," will be available on HBO Max for one month starting on the same day they debut in cinemas

Photo: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
  • Upcoming movies affected include “The Suicide Squad,” a new version of “Dune” and a “Matrix” sequel;
  • Executives said the strategy would be in place for one year.

AT&T‘s Warner Bros studio on Thursday announced that it will make all of its 2021 films available in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service starting on the same day, an unprecedented shift in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The movies, which are expected to include “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Mortal Kombat,” will be available on HBO Max for one month starting on the same day they debut in cinemas, the studio said in a statement.

READ ALSO: EXCLUSIVE: Latin America will be HBO Max’s first international market after its U.S. launch

Other upcoming movies affected include “The Suicide Squad,” a new version of “Dune” and a “Matrix” sequel.

Executives said the strategy would be in place for one year and was a response to the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many theaters to remain closed.

READ ALSO: HBO Max reaches 4.1 million subscribers in two months in the U.S

“No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do,” said Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group.

“We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021.”

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Shares of AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest theater operator, fell 4% to $4.14 in afternoon trading.

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