Warner Bros. Makes Major Change to Movies Premiering on HBO Max


Fans waiting to catch new Warner Bros. movies on HBO Max may find themselves waiting. According to The Wrap, Warner Bros. Discovery has shifted the previous 45-day theatrical window put in place by former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and now, new Warner Bros. movies are no longer guaranteed to hit the streamer on that schedule. Per the report, streaming release timing will now be determined on a case-by-case basis for films in what is seen as the latest reversal of Kilar’s embrace of streaming by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav.

This latest development probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. During Warner Bros. Discovery’s quarterly earnings call last week, Zaslav suggested that there could be a longer wait for new films to hit HBO Max, noting that the company had “no intention of beholden” to any one particular platform.

“As the maker and owner of the largest and most complete library of content in the world. We cover more surface area than almost any other media company,” Zaslav shared. “Theatrical streaming, linear TV free-to-air gaming, consumer products, and experiences, our own platforms, other platforms. And we have no intention of being beholden to anyone in particular or to a specific business model. Simply put, we are open for business. At Warner Bros. Discovery, we believe strongly in the importance of preserving optionality and driving returns to a strategic mix of distribution and windowing options. For example, we will fully embrace theatrical as we believe that creates interest and demand provides a great marketing tailwind and generates word of mouth buzz as films transition to streaming and beyond.”

“When you’re in theaters, the value of the content and the overall viewing experience is elevated. Then when the same content moves to VOD, and then streaming it is elevated again. As films move from one window to the next their overall value is elevated, elevated, elevated the Batman and Elvis.”

The reported change in theatrical release window isn’t the only change that is coming for HBO Max, either. Zaslav also revealed during last week’s call that he plans to merge HBO Max and Discovery+ to create “an integrated SVOD service.”

“With respect to streaming, our main priority right now is launching an integrated SVOD service,” Zaslav said during the call. “And in a few moments, JB will talk more about the strategy and some of the key building blocks and milestones as we bring HBO Max and Discovery+ together under one offering. Our streaming strategy has evolved over the past year and really reflects the importance of rather than the dependence on this segment of our global content monetization plan.”

“Once our SVOD service is firmly established in the market, we see real potential and are exploring the opportunity for a fast or free ad-supported streaming offering that would give consumers who do not want to pay a subscription fee access to great library content, while at the same time serving as an entry point to our premium service,” Zaslav added.

What do you think about this latest shift for HBO Max? Let us know in the comments!

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