Why Warner Bros. had to move its 2021 films to HBO Max

WarnerMedia is making a clear bet for 2021: its slate of movies won’t generate the revenue its studio division needs, but it can help boost HBO Max’s long-term success.

The company announced yesterday that every one of its 2021 movies will debut on HBO Max in the United States at the same time they play in theaters. They’ll be available for one month, at no extra charge, and available to stream in 4K HDR. It feels like an inevitable shift; COVID-19 cases are surging around the world again, new content on streaming services is drying up, and WarnerMedia needs to figure out a way to keep revenue coming in. Looking at a year where cinemas might not open beyond 25 percent capacity in the United States and where people may not want to sit in…

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